The billion-dollar memory thief drug

I often warn about the dangers of statin drugs. In fact, as I’ve explained before, they are metabolic poisons that interfere with your body’s natural production of vitamin D and CoQ10. And at least one prominent U.S. scientist thinks they even disrupt brain function.

Of course, Big Pharma is trying to tell us the complete opposite–that high cholesterol causes dementia. And they say you need to take a statin drug to cut your risk.

But this claim is just plain wrong.

Your brain needs cholesterol. In fact, you learn this simple fact in Biology 101. (Of course, Big Pharma never lets a little basic biology stand in the way of making a buck.) I’ll explain more about how cholesterol protects your brain in a moment.

First, let’s back up…

Originally, doctors only gave statin drugs to people with high cholesterol. But now, Big Pharma wants virtually every adult to take them. They say it will prevent any number of health problems–from cardiovascular disease to Type II diabetes.

In fact, last December, Big Pharma got some help advancing their cause. An “expert” panel expanded the guidelines for statin use. This panel concluded that we need to look beyond total cholesterol levels when determining who should take a statin.

According to these “experts,” we need to consider a patient’s age, weight, and blood pressure. We also need to look at whether a patient smokes or has diabetes. They even designed a nifty mathematical formula to help doctors determine their patients’ cardiovascular disease risk. And if, after plugging in the numbers, a patient has more than a 7.5 percent risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next decade, he or she should start taking a statin drug. Regardless of their LDL cholesterol score.

If we apply these new guidelines, it means millions more American men and women (and up to a billion worldwide) will “qualify” to start taking statin drugs.

The statin industry has also worked overtime to prove high cholesterol raises your risk of Alzheimer’s dementia. But they’ve only found one study that even comes close to substantiating this claim.

In a single review study from the past 30 years, men with high cholesterol in their 50s had an increased risk of Alzheimer’s much later in life.

The statin industry quickly jumped on this random finding back in 2008. And the lame stream media aided and abetted them. But they missed (or didn’t understand) a key piece of the study…

The men in the study started taking statin drugs in their 50s, once they were diagnosed with high cholesterol. So, for the rest of their lives, the men had statin-induced low cholesterol. Now, a good percentage of these men did develop dementia. But it wasn’t because of their initially high cholesterol. Having low cholesterol for all those years probably increased their dementia risk.

You see, cholesterol plays in a critical role protecting the brain. In fact, here is what an overwhelming number of studies published before and after that review suggest…

Older adults with high cholesterol have increased longevity. (And heart disease is still the number one cause of mortality in older adults, both men and women. So increased longevity generally means lower risk of heart disease, with higher cholesterol.)

Plus, researchers link high cholesterol with better memory and reduced dementia risk. And lastly, researchers link falling cholesterol levels very clearly with higher rates of Alzheimer’s dementia.

In addition to these statistical studies, there’s one obvious reason why statin drugs contribute to Alzheimer’s dementia…

Statins cripple your liver’s ability to make cholesterol. And your brain needs cholesterol. It enables signal transport across the synapses–a critical, ongoing brain function. Longer term, cholesterol encourages the growth of nerve cells. And it keeps the myelin sheath around nerve cells healthy. The myelin sheath is a layer of fatty substance that insulates each and every nerve cell. Without healthy myelin, the nerve cells in your brain can’t communicate with each other!

In an interview, one prominent U.S. researcher put the immediate effects this way…

“When you deprive the brain of cholesterol, you directly affect the machinery that triggers the release of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters affect the data-processing and memory functions. In other words–how smart you are and how well you remember things.”

Doesn’t that sound like dementia to you?

Without a doubt, statins affect brain function. Last September, I told you about a NASA physician-astronaut named Dr. Duane Graveline who actually experienced amnesia after taking a statin drug for just six weeks.

Following his frightening ordeal, Dr. Graveline wrote a book about the damaging effects of statins on the brain called Lipitor: Thief of Memory. But the real thief is the entire statin industry.

So protect yourself from these thieves. And don’t let any primary care physician scare you into taking a statin drug supposedly because “high cholesterol is a big risk factor for Alzheimer’s.” It’s just not turning out to be true.

P.S. The nutritional information listed in Monday’s Daily Dispatch should have indicated that one large egg contains roughly 70 calories and 5 grams of fat. My apologies for any confusion.

Sources:

1. “Cholesterol as a Risk Factor for Dementia and Cognitive Decline: A Systematic Review of Prospective Studies With Meta-Analysis,” American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2008, May; Vol. 16(5):343-354

2. “High total cholesterol levels in late life associated with a reduced risk of dementia,” Neurology 2005; Vol. 64: 1689-1695

3. “Better memory functioning associated with higher total and LDL cholesterol levels in very elderly subjects without the APOE4 allele,” Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2008 September; 16(9): 781-785

4. “Total cholesterol and risk of mortality in the oldest old,” The Lancet, 1997; 350(9085): 1119-1123

5. “A scissors mechanism for stimulation of SNARE-mediated lipid mixing by cholesterol,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2009, March 19; 106(13);5141-5146

6. “Cholesterol-reducing Drugs May Lessen Brain Function, Says Researcher,” Science Daily (www.sciencedaily.com) 2/26/2009


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