From The News …

      66 Comments on From The News …

Time to clean up my long list of bookmarks again.  Here are some interesting tidbits from the news that didn’t inspire full posts:

Statin Drugs Provide No Benefit: Study of 4 Million People

Well, I am shocked … turns out prescribing statins for everyone whose cholesterol isn’t sufficiently low (whatever the current definition of “sufficiently low” is) doesn’t appear to be doing any good, according to a recent study:

A population-based study in Sweden shows that the massive deployment of statins has provided no benefit. Three times as many statins were being taken by Swedish people in the year 2000 than in 1998. Yet, the numbers of people suffering or dying from heart attacks were unchanged by it.

The study covered nearly the entire Swedish population aged 40-79 for the years 1998-2000. They included the data from 289 municipalities, which included all areas of the country, urban, suburban, country, industrial, and everything in between. The total numbers were 1,926,113 men and 1,995,981 women—a total of 3,922,094 people.

Results from virtually the entire Swedish population demonstrated that the threefold increase in statins use provided no benefit.

I think I know where this is headed:  soon we’ll be hearing about the Swedish Paradox.  Statins really do prevent heart attacks, you see, unless … uh … unless you eat a lot of herring.

The FDA Gets A Clue About High-Dose Statins

It only took the FDA several years to pay attention to the warnings that statins can cause muscle damage, but they finally did.

The Food and Drug Administration is recommending that physicians restrict prescribing high-dose simvastatin (Zocor, Merck) to patients, given an increased risk of muscle damage. The new FDA drug safety communication, issued today, states that physicians should limit using the 80-mg dose unless the patient has already been taking the drug for 12 months and there is no evidence of myopathy.

The changes to the label are based on the Study of the Effectiveness of Additional Reductions in Cholesterol and Homocysteine (SEARCH), a study reported by heartwire. In that trial, 52 patients taking the 80-mg dose developed myopathy compared with one patient treated with the 20-mg dose. In addition, 22 patients treated with the high dose of simvastatin developed rhabdomyolysis compared with none treated with the 20-mg dose.

Rhabdomyolysis is medical-speak for “Holy @#$%! My muscles are breaking down and wasting away.”

Nothing like taking a drug that damages muscles to prevent heart disease.  If memory serves, the heart is a muscle.  I suspect that if high doses of statins can produce muscle damage extensive enough to be diagnosed, low doses may produce damage many patients don’t notice.  And since the Swedish study shows that large-scale prescribing of statins hasn’t lowered rates of heart disease, here’s the logical conclusion:  STOP TAKING THESE HORRIBLE  DRUGS!

NASA Turns Animal Fat Into Jet Fuel

I guess if you’re not planning a mission to Mars, you have to find other ways to fill your day.  So NASA scientists tested animal fat as jet fuel:

In March and April, researchers at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in California test biofuel made of chicken and beef tallow (waste fat) in the engine of a DC-8 airplane.

To test the new animal-based biofuel, the researchers ran one engine burning Jet Propellant 8, or JP-8, fuel, which is very similar to the industry standard Jet-A fuel used in commercial aircraft.  They ran a second engine on a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and Hydrotreated Renewable Jet Fuel, or HRJ — the animal-based biofuel.  And a third engine ran on pure HRJ.

What they found was that the biofuel-powered engine produced much lower sulfate, organic aerosol, and hazardous emissions.  It also produced 90 percent less black carbon emissions at idle and 60 percent less at a takeoff level of thrust.

I have mixed feelings about this one. I certainly don’t like seeing chicken and beef fat labeled as “waste fat.”  They’re only wasted because we’re not smart enough to fry foods in them anymore.

On the other hand, I’d happily deal with the hassle of flying (naked x-ray included) if it meant I might someday find myself seated next to a vegan zealot when the pilot announced our flight was beef-powered.

“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, ladies and gentlemen, if you look out the windows on your left, you’ll see we’re now passing over the Rocky Mountains.  And by the way, this aircraft is using all-natural beef tallow as fuel.”

“Excuse me, flight attendant!  Did he just say we’re flying on beef tallow?!

“Yes, sir.  You’ll be delighted to know we’re reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels and emitting less pollution at the same time.”

“No, no, no!  Cattle are ruining the planet!  Only soybean oil can save us!”

“I’m sorry sir, but the tests were conclusive.  Beef tallow produces the fewest noxious emissions.”

“Well, I cannot be a party to animal slavery!  I’m getting off this plane right now!”

“Sir, it’s not … sir, you need to keep your seat belt on.  Sir, do not approach that door!  Sir, DO NOT OPEN THAT DOOR!  … Ladies and gentlemen, we have an opening in first class if anyone would like to upgrade.”

Nicholas Cage’s son has a diet temper-tantrum

I really want to know what his trainer told him he couldn’t eat:

The son of Nicolas Cage was taken to the hospital following an altercation Tuesday afternoon at the Farmer’s Kitchen in Hollywood.

According to TMZ, 20-year-old Weston Cage was with his trainer when his trainer told him he couldn’t eat something on the menu. That’s when Weston started “freaking out” and allegedly started pushing his trainer in a violent way, refusing to calm down.

Police were called in to help and when they arrived, they told Weston they would use a taser if he did not cooperate. At that point, Weston complied. Authorities, however, were worried he was unstable, and paramedics were asked to strap him on a gurney before taking him to Cedars Sinai Medical Center to be evaluated.

Attacking a personal trainer?!  You know, no matter what Fred Hahn told me I couldn’t eat, I’d never be stupid enough to start pushing him around.  Of course, Fred would never forbid a client to eat anything.  He’d just explain why it’s a bad idea:  “Look, that dinner roll is going to jack up your blood sugar and give you a belly ache.  Here, eat these five lobsters with butter instead.”

A clear picture of worthless federal programs

The USDA has found another brilliant way to blow $2 million of our money:

A $2 million project being unveiled in the lunchroom of a Texas primary school will use high-tech cameras to photograph what foods children pile onto their trays – and later capture what they don’t finish eating.

Digital imaging analysis of the snapshots will then calculate how many calories each student scarfed down. Local health officials said the program, funded by a US Department of Agriculture grant, is the first of its kind in a US school, and will be so precise that the technology can identify a half-eaten pear left on a lunch tray.

Researchers hope parents will change eating habits at home once they see what their kids are choosing in schools. The data also will be used to study what foods children are likely to choose and how much of if they’re eating.

Hmmm … we have reports that kids are tossing the tasteless low-fat foods the USDA requires schools to serve into the trash.  What could possibly be the problem?  Boy, that’s a tough one to figure out.  Hey, maybe if we spy on them, we’ll come up with an answer!

Note to the USDA:  kids are tossing the meals because the meals suck.  You can send me a check for $200, and I’ll re-write that explanation in official-sounding government language for you.

British GPs will be paid to shame patients

Glad to know my government isn’t the only one looking for stupid ways to spend money.  Last year the British health minister (not a thin woman herself) suggested doctors should start calling fat people fat.  Apparently not enough doctors took the advice, so now they’ll be paid to tell patients they’re fat:

From next year, GPs will receive a payment for every obese patient they advise to lose weight – on top of money for keeping lists of those who weigh too much.  The plans form part of a desperate bid to tackle soaring rates of obesity in Britain, with two out of three adults now classed as overweight or obese.

Doctors will be instructed to be more pro-active in raising the topic of weight loss in their consultations, while new NHS guidance will say health workers and local authorities should do more to stop children and adults becoming overweight.

Brilliant!  Governments spend money recommending diets that make people fatter, then pay doctors to tell people they’re fat, then spend more money to send fat people to counselors who tell them to eat the diet the government recommends.

Here’s the main effect this program will have on the health of our friends across the pond:

“Honey, that looks like a suspicious lump.”

“It’s fine.  Nothing to worry about.”

“Why don’t you at least go and see the doctor about it?”

“Because I’m tired of that skinny @$$#*&* telling me I’m fat, that’s why.”

I’m sure MeMe Roth would approve of this method.  Perhaps the British could do us a favor and invite her to spend a decade or so in England to oversee the shaming-fat-people program.  Then she’d be less likely to pop on up my TV screen and make me lose my appetite.

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66 thoughts on “From The News …

  1. Nowhereman

    “I guess if you’re not planning a mission to Mars, you have to find other ways to fill your day. So NASA scientists tested animal fat as jet fuel”

    Hey, I’m all for it. Not only does it make use of all the fat that’s being thrown out, but NASA is actually doing something that involves the second “A” in its name. You know, “Aeronautics”.

    Ah well, on a more slightly more serious side, it’s not a bad idea. Maybe we should switch the oils and fats around. Burn Canola oil and other vegetable oils in our planes, trains, and cars while we go back to eating animal fat, like we’re supposed to.

    Nah, that involves way too much common sense.

    If we could use corn oil to power jets, I’d be all for it. Then the USDA could finally stop pretending Monsanto’s corn is good food.

    Reply
  2. Nowhereman

    “I guess if you’re not planning a mission to Mars, you have to find other ways to fill your day. So NASA scientists tested animal fat as jet fuel”

    Hey, I’m all for it. Not only does it make use of all the fat that’s being thrown out, but NASA is actually doing something that involves the second “A” in its name. You know, “Aeronautics”.

    Ah well, on a more slightly more serious side, it’s not a bad idea. Maybe we should switch the oils and fats around. Burn Canola oil and other vegetable oils in our planes, trains, and cars while we go back to eating animal fat, like we’re supposed to.

    Nah, that involves way too much common sense.

    If we could use corn oil to power jets, I’d be all for it. Then the USDA could finally stop pretending Monsanto’s corn is good food.

    Reply
  3. Ricardo

    If only doctors would just check hormone levels like Test in Men. If test is low cholesterol will be high since cholesterol is a precursor to many steroid hormones. I don’t know what its im thinking its all the hype making bio-identical hormone replacement therapy look bad. There are many good studies that show testosterone lowers cholesterol improves heart health and lowers blood sugar and greatly enhances a mans health. I think doctors and men should look more into it cause i can dramatically change your health.

    ( Hope that wasn’t off topic.)

    Reply
  4. Bex

    Oh dear…..I live in the UK and all I recall as a teenager was my doctor telling me to give up smoking…..even though he had 20 B&H in his top pocket!!! Same doctor, as it happens, is also somewhat fat….

    Will be fun next time I go and see him…

    Same practice that told me I was ‘fit as a flea’ when I went there with low blood pressure due to being unable to eat….and also being somewhat thin, and possibly anorexic. My BMI was ‘perfect’ therefore I was clearly not ill….

    This is going to be horrendous……

    The real hoot will be when fat doctors start telling patients they’re too fat.

    Reply
  5. AussieLinda

    Hi – I just wanted to tell you how impressed I am with Fat Head and this blog (only heard about Fat Head today and watched it tonight). I have been reading about the paleo diet lately and trying it myself and it is incredible to see how a “healthy” diet according to the government is a bunch of lies!

    Now I just need to convince my parents to get on board – I will definitely be posting them a copy of Fat Head!

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    Thank you for watching.

    Reply
  6. Jo

    Last time I went to my UK doc I got the ‘eat a little bit less, do a little bit more’ speech from the skinny cow! LOL. Her nurse (who was fatter than me) also suggested I walk around the office a bit more to get my weight down. I was too polite to ask her if she took her own advice. This is the doc who put me on statins at the age of 46 because my dad has heart disease.

    Good grief. I presume you’re no longer taking the statins.

    Reply
  7. Bex

    Oh dear…..I live in the UK and all I recall as a teenager was my doctor telling me to give up smoking…..even though he had 20 B&H in his top pocket!!! Same doctor, as it happens, is also somewhat fat….

    Will be fun next time I go and see him…

    Same practice that told me I was ‘fit as a flea’ when I went there with low blood pressure due to being unable to eat….and also being somewhat thin, and possibly anorexic. My BMI was ‘perfect’ therefore I was clearly not ill….

    This is going to be horrendous……

    The real hoot will be when fat doctors start telling patients they’re too fat.

    Reply
  8. eddie watts

    that british newpaper article is ridiculous, on the second one though in the comments someone has posted links to 10 studies showing being overweight/obese is protective against a lot of health conditions.

    actually is it possible the body becomes overweight to protect itself against those health conditions?
    i mean obviously blood sugar is lowered by pushing excess glucose into tissue, mostly fat if you’re insulin resistant, but it could be a protective gesture in ways we do not know also?

    just a random thought.

    great update again Tom!

    I haven’t looked into it thoroughly, but my guess is that overweight people are more likely to survive cancer and other diseases that cause wasting — keeping in mind, of course, that if you’re not on the skinny side, the BMI scale will peg you as overweight.

    Reply
  9. LaurieLM

    Here’s hoping statins rust in peace, sooner rather than later. Cholesterol was and continues to be framed. More men than women have heart attacks. Men have higher levels of testosterone than women do, so it must be that the greater levels of testosterone are causing the increased heart attack rates in men compared to women. Why wasn’t there an anti-testosterone campaign? “Reduce your risk of (the horror inducing and frightening phrase) SUDDEN CARDIAC DEATH by popping Testoster-itor”. It doesn’t work, you’ll become impotent and you will start to develop new girlie body parts but testosterone is causing all your problems so you will just have to suck-it-up and take it.

    Statins already make some men feel … uh … not quite up to the job. So then they take Viagra along with the statin.

    Reply
  10. Elenor

    “You can send me a check for $200, and I’ll re-write that explanation in official-sounding government language for you.”

    Wowee! Your hourly rate is $800 a hour?! Good for you! Do you already work for govt?! {wink}

    No, when I work for government there will also be cost overruns on the final bill.

    Reply
  11. GoldPaintedLemons

    My only question is how did the combination of the first two articles not inspire a full post?? It’s your blog, I’m just messing w/ you, but I consider that some pretty compelling information, at least you made it first.

    My mother in law is trying to keep her doctor from prescribing her statins. At least the doctor recommended she try diet first. But her advice? No more than three eggs a week and more whole grain!! Luckily her daughter and son in law have been indoctrinating her with information via Taubes, Sisson, and yourself. We’ve gotten her to give up bread and pasta, but she still loves her white rice and potatoes. She also understands that not all cholesterol is bad, but unfortunately her lab work (and doctor) does not distinguish between the types of LDL.

    Oh well, maybe one day. We are somewhere in the ballpark of being as persistent as you. Thanks for your tireless battling of misinformation.

    If you’ve gotten her off sugar and grains, that will go a long way.

    Reply
  12. Jennifer Eloff

    So much for Statins! I’ve heard of several people who were debilitated by the drug; they may have led a normal life without it. I think one of the Statins now has to come with a warning as people were getting such muscle damage.

    I’m pretty sure statins debilitated my dad.

    Reply
  13. C*5_Dodger

    Dear Tom,

    The article about statins really blew me away. I wonder, has it appeared in the mainstream press yet. If not I won’t hold my breath waiting! BTW here’s a link to the provisional PDF http://www.jnrbm.com/content/pdf/1477-5751-10-6.pdf

    Regards Dodger

    I haven’t seen it in the mainstream press yet. Thanks for the link; I downloaded the paper to read.

    Reply
  14. Ninja

    Hmm…my DR. right here in the US had no trouble telling me I needed to lose weight, which made me raise my eyebrows since it had absolutely NO bearing on what I was there for….Personally, I didn’t think it was appropriate at the time, and had I not blow him off…I’m sure he would have reccomended a “lovely” low fat calorie counting regiment…like I haven’t tried that before…It doesn’t work….not for me anyway. Viva la real food and exercise!

    Reply
  15. Lyford

    Here’s the thing that’s so infuriating about the British “you’re FAT” mandate. Speaking as a fat person (who is much, much, much less fat than I was), fat people ALREADY KNOW THAT THEY’RE FAT! It’s a fundamental aspect, for many, the dominant aspect of our self-perception. Fat people already want to lose weight. Having the doctor tell them “you are fat” doesn’t significantly alter the incentives for losing weight, but it does significantly alter the incentives for going to the doctor’s office. What, abuse from the doctor is going to make the bad advice that fat people are already trying to follow suddenly magically work?

    Incredibly short-sighted and counter-productive…

    Obese people already avoid doctors because they don’t want to be lectured about their weight. This will just make it worse.

    Reply
  16. Phyllis Mueller

    I heard the simvastatin story on NPR. You can read it on the NPR website. Here are some quotes from the story from Dr. Amy Egan, the FDA deputy director for safety about why the high dose of this drug is on the market despite adverse results:

    “‘We have been working with the sponsor (Merck) the past several months to come up with a plan that would allow us to keep the 80-milligram dose on the market so we would not disrupt the care of patients taking that dose,’ Egan says.

    “Interestingly, the argument came down to the cost of the drug.

    “”While we cannot factor costs into our decision, this is the cheapest and most potent generic statin available,” Egan says. “We’re talking about four cents a day versus $1.20 a day. So for people who pay for medications on their own, those people would be certainly disadvantaged and may have to stop their statins. And we felt the public health impact of that was certainly worse than leaving the drug on the market.'”

    I find it difficult to imagine a worse health impact than kidney failure and death.

    Indeed.

    Reply
  17. PHK

    thanks! that’s a start!
    i believe that statins also cause a lot of cancer (indirectly) by suppressing D, perhaps some other stuff that the liver would make.

    Reply
  18. David

    What cracks me up is that these idiots actually believe that fat people don’t know that they’re fat and must be told! This is as ridiculous as paying doctors to tell people that they have two arms (or legs, or eyes)!

    It’s insane. Fat people know they’re fat, most of them hate it, most of them have tried and failed to lose the weight.

    Reply
  19. Isabel

    I don’t so much mind when my doctor tells me I’m fat, but I won’t be quiet when my endocrinologist starts pushing me to see a bariatric surgeon. I found a new endocrionologist who is on board with my low carb / high fat diet and is so impressed with the fact that I’ve lost 100 pounds. She thinks I should write a book for her other patients.

    Write it! You may save some unnecessary surgeries.

    Reply
  20. Alexandra

    When my former husband told the PA about his sore muscles.. likely from the high dose statin he was taking… the PA gave him a prescription for Vicodin! 4 tablets a day for the rest of his life.

    Good lord. My mom’s doctor also failed to make the connection between statins and muscle pain. Fortunately, Mom stopped taking them.

    Reply
  21. Jim Anderson

    I wonder just how fat a person in the UK needs to be before the doctor will get paid to say so. Logically, the doctor should get more money for telling a slightly fat person as opposed to telling an enormously fat person. No professional skill is needed to point out the obese. And the emotional reaction of a person who is a few pounds (or kilos) over-weight being told “You’re fat!” is apt to be stronger.

    The scary part is being put on the official list of fat people.

    I’d worry about the financial incentive as well. Doctors will start labeling anyone who isn’t skinny as overweight.

    Reply
  22. Dave

    Tom please let me relate my story about statins and how they have affected my father and my mother in law.

    My father started taking statins about 3 years ago. His doctor thought it “necessary” he started taking these drugs because of his “high” cholesterol of 200. He is now actually proud that his cholesterol is now down to a “healthy” 130.

    However since attaining this statin induced “healthy” low cholesterol value his health has deteriorated dramatically. He has developed Parkinson like shakes, he has sores that won’t heal up, his energy levels have nosedived, he cannot walk without his legs giving him tremendous pain, he’s showing signs of Alzheimer’s, he’s shrunk by around 4-5 inches, his skin looks awful, he’s miserable and depressed all the time, he’s always at the doctors for some ailment or other and according to his consultant, he’s got the most clogged arteries that he’s ever seen.

    For 3 decades my father has followed, almost religiously, the low-fat mantra.

    My father used to have a very senior position at a multi-national company. He now struggles mentally and physically to complete the most trivial of everyday tasks.

    I’m convinced that my fathers low-fat regimen has slowly ebbed away his vitality over the years and the introduction of statins has almost completely destroyed his health.

    About 2 years ago my mother in law went on a “routine check up” at her doctors. Guess what: Her doctor told her that her cholesterol was “high” and that he “wanted her to still be around in 10 years” so he prescribed, yes you’ve guessed; statins. My mother in law was 76 and enjoyed robust good health.

    By now I had started to research about cholesterol and statins. 3 major themes are constantly shown regarding cholesterol and statins. Firstly, lowering cholesterol levels have never been shown to benefit women. Secondly, for older people live longer if they have high cholesterol. Thirdly, people taking statin drugs have a high percentage of adverse reactions. After seeing how statins had affected my father’s health I almost begged my mother in law not to take the statins. I told her of all the studies which indicated that low cholesterol and statins may not be the panacea for good health and that they may be harmful. However, she was of that generation that puts doctors on a pedestal and she always followed her doctors advice.

    Within 2 weeks she was in pain throughout her body. She discontinued the statins and recovered somewhat but she was never back to her old self. About 2-3 months later on another “routine” visit to her doctor she was again “persuaded” to take a lower dose of the statin drugs. Again she suffered adverse reactions, her energy levels dropped and she suffered from muscle pain.

    One of the adverse effects of low cholesterol is increased rates of cancer. Within a year of starting statin treatment my mother in law was diagnosed with cancer and within 18 months of her starting her treatment she withered away from a women of robust health to a near skeleton and died.

    I dout, in fact I know, that statins will not be blamed for my mother in laws death, nor will they be blamed for my father’s poor health.

    How many peoples health are adversely by these drugs? I think it likely that the vast majority of people who undertake statin therapy suffer adverse reactions.

    Tom I’m sorry I’ve rambled on, but statin drugs have had an enormous adverse effect on my family and I’m 100% sure they’ve had enormous adverse effects on many, many other families. The sad thing is the vast majority of people have been hoodwinked into thinking these statin drugs are wonderful.

    Just to finish off, despite all my father’s failing health since taking statins, despite my mother in law dying since starting statin therapy and despite showing my father all my research on the subject – He still follows doctors orders and takes his statins. I think this is probably the default position of most people.

    To paraphrase: Head, bang on desk.

    Tom keep up what you’re doing. Maybe, just maybe you will reach some people and motivate them to take responsibility for their own health and you will save yourself from a headache and your desk from been damaged.

    I’m so sorry to hear what happened to your loved ones. I’m afraid this story is being repeated over and over. My dad ended up with colon cancer, which may or may not have been caused by all the years he took Lipitor, but since it’s a medical fact that people with high cholesterol are less likely to develop cancer, I suspect the Lipitor was involved. And I have little doubt the Lipitor caused or accelerated his Alzheimer’s. And here’s the punchline: despite all those years of taking Lipitor, he ended up with blocked arteries and had stents implanted in them.

    Reply
  23. Robinowitz

    I sure hope my mother-in-law read that info about statins and stops taking them. All of her brothers have had heart attacks (one even died from one, unfortunately) and were all overweight, so she takes statins, which I’ve read time and again are worthless for women. She says it’s because it reduces inflammation and I always want to remind her that a low-carb diet does, too…but she’s impossible to talk to about this stuff. She’s a cardiac nurse (and also about 100 lbs overweight) and seems to think that all those brilliant doctors she works with who trust statins wouldn’t steer her wrong, so maybe THEY will get the message from this new statin info. I keep hoping:)

    I wish you luck on that, but if she spends all day talking to doctors, it’ll be a tough sell.

    Reply
  24. robin

    http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v89/n9/full/6601314a.html
    ACK!
    Could you please translate the above link for me please? It is the summary of the study revisting the link between saturated fat and breast cancer.
    Is this a case of subdividing the data until the wanted answer is found? I am hoping you have seen this already and can ‘debunk’ it for me:) I have read it a few times and need a more critical eye to help me out here.

    I hadn’t seen it before, but it’s hogwash, as this line in the abstract tells us right away: “individual-based studies have given contradictory results.” If the results are contradictory, you’re not looking at cause and effect. They did what the goofs who produced the latest “meat causes cancer!” meta-analysis did. They averaged the results of contradictory observational studies and declared they found an “overall” association — with relative risks that are next to meaningless … 1.11, 1.14, etc.

    Reply
  25. Dave

    Tom please let me relate my story about statins and how they have affected my father and my mother in law.

    My father started taking statins about 3 years ago. His doctor thought it “necessary” he started taking these drugs because of his “high” cholesterol of 200. He is now actually proud that his cholesterol is now down to a “healthy” 130.

    However since attaining this statin induced “healthy” low cholesterol value his health has deteriorated dramatically. He has developed Parkinson like shakes, he has sores that won’t heal up, his energy levels have nosedived, he cannot walk without his legs giving him tremendous pain, he’s showing signs of Alzheimer’s, he’s shrunk by around 4-5 inches, his skin looks awful, he’s miserable and depressed all the time, he’s always at the doctors for some ailment or other and according to his consultant, he’s got the most clogged arteries that he’s ever seen.

    For 3 decades my father has followed, almost religiously, the low-fat mantra.

    My father used to have a very senior position at a multi-national company. He now struggles mentally and physically to complete the most trivial of everyday tasks.

    I’m convinced that my fathers low-fat regimen has slowly ebbed away his vitality over the years and the introduction of statins has almost completely destroyed his health.

    About 2 years ago my mother in law went on a “routine check up” at her doctors. Guess what: Her doctor told her that her cholesterol was “high” and that he “wanted her to still be around in 10 years” so he prescribed, yes you’ve guessed; statins. My mother in law was 76 and enjoyed robust good health.

    By now I had started to research about cholesterol and statins. 3 major themes are constantly shown regarding cholesterol and statins. Firstly, lowering cholesterol levels have never been shown to benefit women. Secondly, for older people live longer if they have high cholesterol. Thirdly, people taking statin drugs have a high percentage of adverse reactions. After seeing how statins had affected my father’s health I almost begged my mother in law not to take the statins. I told her of all the studies which indicated that low cholesterol and statins may not be the panacea for good health and that they may be harmful. However, she was of that generation that puts doctors on a pedestal and she always followed her doctors advice.

    Within 2 weeks she was in pain throughout her body. She discontinued the statins and recovered somewhat but she was never back to her old self. About 2-3 months later on another “routine” visit to her doctor she was again “persuaded” to take a lower dose of the statin drugs. Again she suffered adverse reactions, her energy levels dropped and she suffered from muscle pain.

    One of the adverse effects of low cholesterol is increased rates of cancer. Within a year of starting statin treatment my mother in law was diagnosed with cancer and within 18 months of her starting her treatment she withered away from a women of robust health to a near skeleton and died.

    I dout, in fact I know, that statins will not be blamed for my mother in laws death, nor will they be blamed for my father’s poor health.

    How many peoples health are adversely by these drugs? I think it likely that the vast majority of people who undertake statin therapy suffer adverse reactions.

    Tom I’m sorry I’ve rambled on, but statin drugs have had an enormous adverse effect on my family and I’m 100% sure they’ve had enormous adverse effects on many, many other families. The sad thing is the vast majority of people have been hoodwinked into thinking these statin drugs are wonderful.

    Just to finish off, despite all my father’s failing health since taking statins, despite my mother in law dying since starting statin therapy and despite showing my father all my research on the subject – He still follows doctors orders and takes his statins. I think this is probably the default position of most people.

    To paraphrase: Head, bang on desk.

    Tom keep up what you’re doing. Maybe, just maybe you will reach some people and motivate them to take responsibility for their own health and you will save yourself from a headache and your desk from been damaged.

    I’m so sorry to hear what happened to your loved ones. I’m afraid this story is being repeated over and over. My dad ended up with colon cancer, which may or may not have been caused by all the years he took Lipitor, but since it’s a medical fact that people with high cholesterol are less likely to develop cancer, I suspect the Lipitor was involved. And I have little doubt the Lipitor caused or accelerated his Alzheimer’s. And here’s the punchline: despite all those years of taking Lipitor, he ended up with blocked arteries and had stents implanted in them.

    Reply
  26. Tanny O'Haley

    I believe it was around 1999 my Doctor prescribed Lipitor to reduce my high cholesterol. He also put me on a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet. When reading the booklet I noticed that it said eggs had good cholesterol, but the diet still wanted me to eat no more than a few eggs a week. I asked the doctor why, if eggs had good cholesterol I needed to avoid them? He told me that they wanted me to avoid all cholesterol so that my overall cholesterol number would be reduced. By 2000 the formulary from my insurance company no longer supported Lipitor, so my doctor changed me to Zocor. The problem is that I started having nightmares and the doctor wrote a note to the insurance company that allowed me to continue taking Lipitor. After about a year of taking Lipitor my calf muscles started to hurt. I told the doctor and he took me off Lipitor, and told me it was a very rare occurrence and put me on a drug called Welchol (SP?). I didn’t like drug so I stopped taking it. At the same time I went on the Atkins diet, lost 53 pounds, lowered my cholesterol and was able to stay on the diet for over two years.

    In 2004 I married my wife who is a registered dental hygienist. She went crazy over the amount of red meat I was eating. On the diet with a high intake of carbohydrates, I gained weight and was tired all the time. I did convince her to allow me to go back on Atkins, but it was very hard for me with all carbohydrates that were in the house. Also, she still had problems with the amount of red meat I was eating even though I had lost 37 pounds. Her dad who ate steak and potatoes and smoked every day died of a heart attack at age 54. She was concerned for my health, but she had the wrong prescription. After watching Fat Head the Movie she finally changed her mind and let me go back on the Atkins diet. So far I’ve lost 15 pounds, am not tired and have loads of energy.

    My mom, my sister and I all have very high cholesterol. My mom is almost a vegetarian and my sister eats the doctor approved diet to reduce cholesterol yet still has a very high cholesterol. Last year I had an operation to my nose to help me breathe. The day after taking out the packing my face went numb. The paramedics thought I had had a TIA and sent me to the hospital. The doctors thought I had a TIA, however every test they gave me said that I had not had a TIA. The doctor ordered a test of my carotid arteries the next morning. The operator thought something was wrong with her machine. When I asked her why, she said “your arteries are super clear, but that can’t be because your cholesterol is too high”. They couldn’t understand why my arteries were so clear and never found out what caused my face to temporarily go numb.

    Now that I have watched your movie and your Science for Smart People presentation and have read your blog I now believe that statins are not good for me. I’m still trying to convince my wife to get completely off Lipitor. She tells me that it’s okay because she only takes it some of the time, as if taking place in in small doses is okay. I’m very concerned for her health and would like her to be completely off statins and to reduce her carbohydrate intake.

    Thank you so much for creating the documentary, the presentation and the content of this blog. It has helped me so much and I feel so much better.

    That’s quite a story, and a perfect example of what’s wrong with the current advice. There you are with clean-as-a-whistle arteries, but they want you to take a drug that could ruin your muscles.

    Reply
  27. Harold Aardsma

    So let’s get this straight. Taking a statin may prevent a heart attach in 1 out of 100 men who already had a heart attach, but it will almost certainly cause some kind of muscle damage in those same men. That means instead of dying from a heart attach you die from heart failure.

    I believe statins are also causing cancer, which of course isn’t linked to the drug.

    Reply
  28. LaurieLM

    Stephanie Seneff (pod cast interview with Jimmy Moore coming up June 14) first introduced me to the concept that the development of disease, obesity, diabetes, clogged arteries, cancer, etc. may be a ‘protective’ process- from the daily dietary onslaught of new-inflammatory Frankenfoods, not enough sun-exposure and for some, taking deadly toxic statins. She has sussed this better than me, but developing obesity may be protection against diabetes. All those incoming sugars and starches and elevated blood sugar, which is toxic to the brain and overloads the liver and glycates work-horse proteins all over the place, have to be dealt with and sequestered. Taubes even mentions the intriguing, very rare, super-morbid obese (1000 lbs.) who do not have diabetes. Clue clues clues.
    Stephanie posits that cancer can be a defense against the onslaught of sugars too and a growing tumor might be the best place to keep these excess poisons away from the entire organism so as to limit and contain the damage for a while- cancer cells can use sugars anaerobically. In her recent EJIM article she talks about dietary carbohydrate exacerbating or causing AD. Again, as a defence against inflammatory, toxic unnatural-to-humans foodstuffs and pharma drugs. In some sense the body is spared and what is sacrificed in the AD development and sequestering and handling of the toxic stuff affected brain, is higher order thinking, which the individual can do without, sadly- if the victim is older and her loved ones care for her.
    I’m not a negative Nellie or Debbie downer, and I’m not obsessed with disease, but there is a joke about what life is. And we humans have always been very curious and interested in life and ourselves and with modern, western Med we have had some spectacular successes in combatting disease and delaying death in some cases. Our quality of life has improved greatly. I just feel that it is starting to decline in the past 30 years with the much increased pushing of ‘healthywholegrains, soy and corn oils and HFCS and sugars.
    Life is a sexually transmitted, 100 % fatal disease.

    Reply
  29. mezzo

    Tom, much as I love you but the proposal to send Meme Roth to Britain is definitely out of order – do you realise that it is just a short hop to Continental Europe and that there is no way we could keep her off once she has entered the European Union? Naaa man – you made her and you get to keep her – we have enough nutritional aliens of our own to keep us on our toes. As for Britain – survival rules are easy: just don’t buy anything the government approves of as “Healthy Eating” and as for their recommendations: just do the exact opposite and you can’t go wrong…

    It would be a cruel thing to do our European friends.

    Reply
  30. robin

    Thanks for clarifying that for me. I felt they were just writing in circles and I was getting seasick.
    Your DVD that I ordered arrived in New Zealand today and am pleased to say there are already a few people lining up to borrow it. I got it for the Big Fat Fiasco speech, as I have already seen the movie, but thought there are a few around who could benefit like I have. Hopefully they will convert, or at least stop questioning my food choices (out loud) and then order a copy for themselves!
    Cheers

    It seems to be one of those films that people see for free and then decide to order a copy or two. I appreciate the marketing.

    Reply
  31. Tanny O'Haley

    I believe it was around 1999 my Doctor prescribed Lipitor to reduce my high cholesterol. He also put me on a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet. When reading the booklet I noticed that it said eggs had good cholesterol, but the diet still wanted me to eat no more than a few eggs a week. I asked the doctor why, if eggs had good cholesterol I needed to avoid them? He told me that they wanted me to avoid all cholesterol so that my overall cholesterol number would be reduced. By 2000 the formulary from my insurance company no longer supported Lipitor, so my doctor changed me to Zocor. The problem is that I started having nightmares and the doctor wrote a note to the insurance company that allowed me to continue taking Lipitor. After about a year of taking Lipitor my calf muscles started to hurt. I told the doctor and he took me off Lipitor, and told me it was a very rare occurrence and put me on a drug called Welchol (SP?). I didn’t like drug so I stopped taking it. At the same time I went on the Atkins diet, lost 53 pounds, lowered my cholesterol and was able to stay on the diet for over two years.

    In 2004 I married my wife who is a registered dental hygienist. She went crazy over the amount of red meat I was eating. On the diet with a high intake of carbohydrates, I gained weight and was tired all the time. I did convince her to allow me to go back on Atkins, but it was very hard for me with all carbohydrates that were in the house. Also, she still had problems with the amount of red meat I was eating even though I had lost 37 pounds. Her dad who ate steak and potatoes and smoked every day died of a heart attack at age 54. She was concerned for my health, but she had the wrong prescription. After watching Fat Head the Movie she finally changed her mind and let me go back on the Atkins diet. So far I’ve lost 15 pounds, am not tired and have loads of energy.

    My mom, my sister and I all have very high cholesterol. My mom is almost a vegetarian and my sister eats the doctor approved diet to reduce cholesterol yet still has a very high cholesterol. Last year I had an operation to my nose to help me breathe. The day after taking out the packing my face went numb. The paramedics thought I had had a TIA and sent me to the hospital. The doctors thought I had a TIA, however every test they gave me said that I had not had a TIA. The doctor ordered a test of my carotid arteries the next morning. The operator thought something was wrong with her machine. When I asked her why, she said “your arteries are super clear, but that can’t be because your cholesterol is too high”. They couldn’t understand why my arteries were so clear and never found out what caused my face to temporarily go numb.

    Now that I have watched your movie and your Science for Smart People presentation and have read your blog I now believe that statins are not good for me. I’m still trying to convince my wife to get completely off Lipitor. She tells me that it’s okay because she only takes it some of the time, as if taking place in in small doses is okay. I’m very concerned for her health and would like her to be completely off statins and to reduce her carbohydrate intake.

    Thank you so much for creating the documentary, the presentation and the content of this blog. It has helped me so much and I feel so much better.

    That’s quite a story, and a perfect example of what’s wrong with the current advice. There you are with clean-as-a-whistle arteries, but they want you to take a drug that could ruin your muscles.

    Reply
  32. Harold Aardsma

    So let’s get this straight. Taking a statin may prevent a heart attach in 1 out of 100 men who already had a heart attach, but it will almost certainly cause some kind of muscle damage in those same men. That means instead of dying from a heart attach you die from heart failure.

    I believe statins are also causing cancer, which of course isn’t linked to the drug.

    Reply
  33. LaurieLM

    Stephanie Seneff (pod cast interview with Jimmy Moore coming up June 14) first introduced me to the concept that the development of disease, obesity, diabetes, clogged arteries, cancer, etc. may be a ‘protective’ process- from the daily dietary onslaught of new-inflammatory Frankenfoods, not enough sun-exposure and for some, taking deadly toxic statins. She has sussed this better than me, but developing obesity may be protection against diabetes. All those incoming sugars and starches and elevated blood sugar, which is toxic to the brain and overloads the liver and glycates work-horse proteins all over the place, have to be dealt with and sequestered. Taubes even mentions the intriguing, very rare, super-morbid obese (1000 lbs.) who do not have diabetes. Clue clues clues.
    Stephanie posits that cancer can be a defense against the onslaught of sugars too and a growing tumor might be the best place to keep these excess poisons away from the entire organism so as to limit and contain the damage for a while- cancer cells can use sugars anaerobically. In her recent EJIM article she talks about dietary carbohydrate exacerbating or causing AD. Again, as a defence against inflammatory, toxic unnatural-to-humans foodstuffs and pharma drugs. In some sense the body is spared and what is sacrificed in the AD development and sequestering and handling of the toxic stuff affected brain, is higher order thinking, which the individual can do without, sadly- if the victim is older and her loved ones care for her.
    I’m not a negative Nellie or Debbie downer, and I’m not obsessed with disease, but there is a joke about what life is. And we humans have always been very curious and interested in life and ourselves and with modern, western Med we have had some spectacular successes in combatting disease and delaying death in some cases. Our quality of life has improved greatly. I just feel that it is starting to decline in the past 30 years with the much increased pushing of ‘healthywholegrains, soy and corn oils and HFCS and sugars.
    Life is a sexually transmitted, 100 % fatal disease.

    Reply
  34. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat Pe

    You’re not nearly pessimistic enough about the NASA story. Here’s how this one plays out.

    1. NASA shows that beef and chicken tallow makes a better jet fuel than current sources.

    2. Congress passes incentives for farmers to produce more beef and chicken tallow.

    3. Jet fuel consumption is so high that beef and chicken meat becomes the waste product.

    4. USDA starts investigating ways to convert beef and chicken meat into value-added products.

    5. Highly-processed food-like products start showing up on store shelves, with high protein (Good! say the doctors) and low fat (Good! say the doctors) and uncountable numbers of fillers and binders to make it look and taste like it still has all the fat they removed. (Hey, where are the doctors on that last part?)

    “Researchers hope parents will change eating habits at home once they see what their kids are choosing in schools.”

    I’m really trying to find a way that makes sense. Do they think that changing eating habits at home will cause the kids to choose different food from the cafeteria? Isn’t it the school that decides what food is served in the cafeteria?

    Based on how they eat at home, my girls would choose the steak and grilled asparagus. Oh, wait … they don’t serve that at school.

    “You can send me a check for $200, and I’ll re-write that explanation in official-sounding government language for you.”

    If you’re not charging at least $100k for it, you’re not a very serious person.

    “Doctors will be instructed to be more pro-active in raising the topic of weight loss in their consultations, while new NHS guidance will say health workers and local authorities should do more to stop children and adults becoming overweight.”

    And NBA coaches will be instructed to be more pro-active in raising the topic of jumping higher in their practice sessions, while new training guidelines will say trainers and officials should do more to stop players from not jumping high.

    And all this time I thought the players already knew they wanted to jump higher, and the job of the coach was to offer useful guidance on how to do that.

    All good points. I need to curb my wild-eyed optimism.

    Reply
  35. Mog

    <My doctor wanted to put me on statins too. I said, you can proscribe all you want, i&#039m not taking them. She didn&#039t like that much.
    I also lowered my triglycerides 100 points in 1 month. got a dog. had to walk it.
    Seriously, what is wrong with the medical community? it&#039s not that hard people.

    Reply
  36. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat People

    You’re not nearly pessimistic enough about the NASA story. Here’s how this one plays out.

    1. NASA shows that beef and chicken tallow makes a better jet fuel than current sources.

    2. Congress passes incentives for farmers to produce more beef and chicken tallow.

    3. Jet fuel consumption is so high that beef and chicken meat becomes the waste product.

    4. USDA starts investigating ways to convert beef and chicken meat into value-added products.

    5. Highly-processed food-like products start showing up on store shelves, with high protein (Good! say the doctors) and low fat (Good! say the doctors) and uncountable numbers of fillers and binders to make it look and taste like it still has all the fat they removed. (Hey, where are the doctors on that last part?)

    “Researchers hope parents will change eating habits at home once they see what their kids are choosing in schools.”

    I’m really trying to find a way that makes sense. Do they think that changing eating habits at home will cause the kids to choose different food from the cafeteria? Isn’t it the school that decides what food is served in the cafeteria?

    Based on how they eat at home, my girls would choose the steak and grilled asparagus. Oh, wait … they don’t serve that at school.

    “You can send me a check for $200, and I’ll re-write that explanation in official-sounding government language for you.”

    If you’re not charging at least $100k for it, you’re not a very serious person.

    “Doctors will be instructed to be more pro-active in raising the topic of weight loss in their consultations, while new NHS guidance will say health workers and local authorities should do more to stop children and adults becoming overweight.”

    And NBA coaches will be instructed to be more pro-active in raising the topic of jumping higher in their practice sessions, while new training guidelines will say trainers and officials should do more to stop players from not jumping high.

    And all this time I thought the players already knew they wanted to jump higher, and the job of the coach was to offer useful guidance on how to do that.

    All good points. I need to curb my wild-eyed optimism.

    Reply
  37. Mog

    <My doctor wanted to put me on statins too. I said, you can proscribe all you want, i'm not taking them. She didn't like that much.
    I also lowered my triglycerides 100 points in 1 month. got a dog. had to walk it.
    Seriously, what is wrong with the medical community? it's not that hard people.

    Reply
  38. Debbie

    “My mother in law is trying to keep her doctor from prescribing her statins.” I always have trouble understanding comments like this – as if we are helpless sheep who are *forced* to take anything a doctor gives a prescription for! My doctor is welcome to write all the statin prescriptions she wants. I’ll never fill them and Ill never take them. Of course I’d also look for a new doctor, which is something I have done – although will have to start all over when I move to Florida shortly.

    But I agree wholeheartedly that “fat kills” because obese people often put off going to the doctor because they don’t want to be shamed and/or harangued about their weight. And no matter what you do to the doctor for – be it a persistent cough, a hangnail, tennis elbow, you name it, it’s likely to be blamed on your weight anyway.

    Reply
  39. Firebird

    Tom wrote, “It would be a cruel thing to do our European friends.”

    If the U.S. wants to conquer the world, the best way to do it is with our diet.

    I’m afraid we’ve already conquered several fronts.

    Reply
  40. Sami

    Speaking of statins- I’ve been researching oyster mushrooms a lot lately because I’ve obtained some mushroom spawn and I’m growing them at home. I came across a clinical study where they fed diabetics a ton of oyster mushrooms and apparently their cholesterol and blood glucose vastly improved. Here’s a little quote:

    “In literature, the mechanism of oyster mushroom’s hypocholesterolemic effects (lowering cholesterol) lies with its abilty to reduce cholesterol absorption and increase plasma cholesterol removal by reducing the production and secretion of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL)..”

    So… If something as simple as a mushroom can lower their numbers a measurable amount without any side effects (and oyster mushrooms being way more tasty than lipitor) then why even have statins? Not that I’m saying lowering cholesterol is necessary or even to be worried about for most people.

    Imagine your doctor saying: “Looks like your LDL’s a little high, I’m prescribing you 100 grams oyster mushrooms, to be taken twice daily sautéed in copious amounts of butter and served in a cream sauce over a porterhouse steak.”

    Anyhow, here’s the article I read: http://chinesemedicinenews.com/2007/07/08/oyster-mushroom-cuts-blood-glucose-cholesterol-blood-pressure-in-diabetics/

    It’ll never happen until someone figures out how to make $36 billion per year selling mushrooms.

    Reply
  41. Robert

    “British GPs will be paid to shame patients”

    If they ever try that bologna here in the US I’ll probably never see a doctor again. It’s already been three years since I’ve been in because I know the doc will start in on me about my weight.

    No **** Sherlock, I know I’m fat. I know it every time I go to buy clothes and nothing in the store fits my strange body proportions. I know it every time I have to meet someone for a job interview and know that I have to be twice as good as the skinny guy before me because the interviewer will think I’m lazy.

    My good luck is that I’m only 23, so I have time to turn myself around in a time while I’m still relatively healthy. I worry for our older generations that are self-conscious about body image. Many people will stop seeing their doctors for dangerous diseases that could have been prevented had they been spotted earlier.

    Fantastic article post as always Tom. Now that I’ve graduated, I hope to find work soon (haha! good luck with that!) and be able to afford not living off top ramen and get a real diet going. Your documentary and blog gives me hope that I really might be able to turn things around soon.

    You will turn it around.

    Reply
  42. Debbie

    “My mother in law is trying to keep her doctor from prescribing her statins.” I always have trouble understanding comments like this – as if we are helpless sheep who are *forced* to take anything a doctor gives a prescription for! My doctor is welcome to write all the statin prescriptions she wants. I’ll never fill them and Ill never take them. Of course I’d also look for a new doctor, which is something I have done – although will have to start all over when I move to Florida shortly.

    But I agree wholeheartedly that “fat kills” because obese people often put off going to the doctor because they don’t want to be shamed and/or harangued about their weight. And no matter what you do to the doctor for – be it a persistent cough, a hangnail, tennis elbow, you name it, it’s likely to be blamed on your weight anyway.

    Reply
  43. Firebird

    Tom wrote, “It would be a cruel thing to do our European friends.”

    If the U.S. wants to conquer the world, the best way to do it is with our diet.

    I’m afraid we’ve already conquered several fronts.

    Reply
  44. Sami

    Speaking of statins- I’ve been researching oyster mushrooms a lot lately because I’ve obtained some mushroom spawn and I’m growing them at home. I came across a clinical study where they fed diabetics a ton of oyster mushrooms and apparently their cholesterol and blood glucose vastly improved. Here’s a little quote:

    “In literature, the mechanism of oyster mushroom’s hypocholesterolemic effects (lowering cholesterol) lies with its abilty to reduce cholesterol absorption and increase plasma cholesterol removal by reducing the production and secretion of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL)..”

    So… If something as simple as a mushroom can lower their numbers a measurable amount without any side effects (and oyster mushrooms being way more tasty than lipitor) then why even have statins? Not that I’m saying lowering cholesterol is necessary or even to be worried about for most people.

    Imagine your doctor saying: “Looks like your LDL’s a little high, I’m prescribing you 100 grams oyster mushrooms, to be taken twice daily sautéed in copious amounts of butter and served in a cream sauce over a porterhouse steak.”

    Anyhow, here’s the article I read: http://chinesemedicinenews.com/2007/07/08/oyster-mushroom-cuts-blood-glucose-cholesterol-blood-pressure-in-diabetics/

    It’ll never happen until someone figures out how to make $36 billion per year selling mushrooms.

    Reply
  45. Robert

    “British GPs will be paid to shame patients”

    If they ever try that bologna here in the US I’ll probably never see a doctor again. It’s already been three years since I’ve been in because I know the doc will start in on me about my weight.

    No **** Sherlock, I know I’m fat. I know it every time I go to buy clothes and nothing in the store fits my strange body proportions. I know it every time I have to meet someone for a job interview and know that I have to be twice as good as the skinny guy before me because the interviewer will think I’m lazy.

    My good luck is that I’m only 23, so I have time to turn myself around in a time while I’m still relatively healthy. I worry for our older generations that are self-conscious about body image. Many people will stop seeing their doctors for dangerous diseases that could have been prevented had they been spotted earlier.

    Fantastic article post as always Tom. Now that I’ve graduated, I hope to find work soon (haha! good luck with that!) and be able to afford not living off top ramen and get a real diet going. Your documentary and blog gives me hope that I really might be able to turn things around soon.

    You will turn it around.

    Reply
  46. Underground

    “A clear picture of worthless federal programs”

    Having worked with said governmental agency as a client on a different project, I have no trouble believing those numbers. Or that they were patting themselves on the back for getting it done on the “cheap”.

    Reply
  47. Marilyn

    Isabel wrote: “. . . but I won’t be quiet when my endocrinologist starts pushing me to see a bariatric surgeon.”

    Bariatric surgery should be named for what it is, barbaric surgery. Right up there with statins — another huge money maker with huge damage potential. From what I’ve read, many people end up on low-carb for life anyway, though now it’s forced on them by the damage done by the surgery.

    Reply

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