A few weeks ago, a new, small, poorly designed study made headlines with the outrageous claim that taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug doesn’t cause cognitive decline. In fact, the researchers went so far as to claim statins may prevent it!
Of course, the study goes against years of solid research showing that statins DO cause cognition and memory problems. So, it got a tremendous amount of attention in both the mainstream and medical press.
In fact, when I read through the media reports, it almost seemed like they were trying to rebut all the previously published, well-designed studies instead of just simply reporting on the new, faulty study itself.
The coverage actually reminded me of that famous line from Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
Indeed, I’ve found in my line of work that an overly impassioned argument of innocence is often an indicator of guilt.
But before we get into the details of the new study, let’s take a step back to look at the mountain of strong, previously published evidence on statins…
Strong evidence shows statins cause serious harm
Last year, I reported on a massive, comprehensive analysis of statin use among 1.3 million people. After analyzing this enormous trove of previously published data, researchers concluded that big pharma had vastly exaggerated the benefits of statins and downplayed their harms.
In fact, conclusive evidence now shows that artificially lowering cholesterol with statins drugs leads to:
- Increases in mortality
- Increases in cancer risk
- Problems with insulin, leading to Type II diabetes and cardio-metabolic heart disease
- A so-called “gluttony effect,” whereby people abandon effective approaches to good health
- Heart muscle abnormalities that increase your risk of heart attack and heart failure
- Reduced absorption of vitamin K2, which stimulates hardening of the arteries—the underlying abnormality in heart disease
- Poisoning of the mitochondria (your cells’ energy and hydration factories)
Of course, strong, previously published studies also show that people who take statins do experience significant memory problems and cognitive decline. Which is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now even requires a “black box” warning that statins may cause memory loss!
But—apparently—this new, poorly designed, pitifully small study is supposed to overturn years of solid research involving millions of people…
Researchers manipulate numbers to get the answer they want
For the new study, researchers recruited just over 1,000 participants who were between the ages 70 and 90 years old and free of dementia.
At the study’s outset, researchers found that about 400 participants had never taken statins and about 600 of them did take statins, including 99 who started taking them during the study period.
In addition, researchers found that the statin-users were younger, but in poorer health than the never-users. In fact, they had a greater body mass index (BMI) and higher rates of Type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke compared to never-users.
Next, researchers assessed the participants’ cognition, memory, brain volume, and other indictors. And they retested these indicators three times over the course of six years.
At the end of the study, they only had complete data for 573 people from the initial group of more than 1,000 participants. (And of that group, they only had complete data on 198 men and women who never took statins.)
So, you may wonder, as I did, how the researchers could possibly come to a reliable, strong conclusion with complete information on only slightly more than half of the initial group?
Well, lack of complete data never stopped a statistician with a calculator!
House of cards falls apart
To deal with this predicament, the researchers simply drilled deeper into the limited data they did have. And they performed exploratory, complex sub-analyses, cutting and parsing results from among the few remaining participants.
They came away with a few convoluted conclusions. First, they found no difference in cognitive function between the people who never took statins and the people who took statins continuously over the nine-year study. Plus, apparently, 99 people who started taking a statin during the course of the study had a slower rate of memory loss than people who didn’t ever take statins.
Really—these are the findings that made headlines in the mainstream and medical press for weeks?! Upon which doctors and patients alike are supposed to make informed decisions about statin drugs? And that are supposed to overturn years of good, solid research on millions of people? These flimsy, watered-down, sub-analysis findings?!
Give me a break. This study is an absolute joke. And it shouldn’t have even made it into the mainstream press at all!
Ignore this sham of a study
Well, I suppose we can forgive the reporters. They aren’t experts, after all.
But I’m appalled by the researchers who want to use these weak, manipulated findings to justify the continued and inappropriate use of statin drugs to prevent heart disease. (Especially when an overwhelming amount of previously published, solid evidence on millions of people shows that statins cause a whole slew of side effects, as I explained earlier. Not to mention the fact that statins don’t even work to prevent heart disease in the first place!)
In my view, we already have all the real-world data we need…
For decades, tens of millions of older adults have been subjected to taking these poisonous drugs. And at the same time—rates of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have skyrocketed.
Statin drugs aren’t a safe, effective solution to preventing heart disease. Especially when we have many safe, effective, natural approaches to protect your heart…without the use of harmful drugs. You can learn all about these drug-free approaches for avoiding heart disease and stroke in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Effects of Statins on Memory, Cognition, and Brain Volume in the Elderly.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2019; 74(21). doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2019.09.041