Boy, I was really hoping we wouldn’t be found out. But now that it’s out in the open, I guess it’s time to admit it: I’m a member of a cult. Dr. Steve Nissen, the nation’s statinator-in-chief, exposed the cult in a recent editorial. Here are some quotes from an article in CardioBrief:

A leading cardiologist has unleashed a blistering attack on “statin denial,” which he calls “an internet-driven cult with deadly consequences.”

In an editorial in Annals of Internal Medicine, Steve Nissen (Cleveland Clinic) expresses grave concerns over statistics showing that only 61% of people given a prescription for a statin were adherent at 3 months. “For a treatment with such well-documented morbidity and mortality benefits, these adherence rates are shockingly low. Why?” he asks.

Good question: why are so few people taking their life-saving statins? Since I’ve employed several Svengali-like deception and persuasion techniques in my posts, many of you who read this blog probably think people are avoiding statins because the drugs don’t work as well as the pharmaceutical companies want us to believe.  Or because the side-effects are worse than reported by pharmaceutical companies.  Or because statins damage muscles.  Or because there’s no evidence statins prevent heart attacks in women or the elderly.  Or because statins screw up people’s brains.

But Dr. Nissen (who by pure coincidence receives a ton of money from pharmaceutical companies) has figured out the real reason:

Nissen writes that “we are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of our patients to Web sites developed by people with little or no scientific expertise, who often pedal ‘natural’ or ‘drug-free’ remedies for elevated cholesterol levels.” The anti-statin forces employ two distinct strategies, “statin denial, the proposition that cholesterol is not related to heart disease, and statin fear, the notion that lowering serum cholesterol levels will cause serious adverse effects.” Nissen admits that some patients will have statin-related adverse effects but “intolerance in many patients undoubtedly represents the nocebo effect.”

That is, of course, what happened with my mom. The only reason she experienced awful muscle and joint pains while on statins is that she believed they might cause muscle and joint pains. Granted, she didn’t believe statins could cause muscle and joint pains until she complained to me about the pains and I asked if she was on statins. But that’s the power of cult-like thinking: it can go backwards in time and cause a nocebo effect.

Anyway, now that the cat’s out of the bag, I may as well tell you about the cult. To make the confession more convincing, I clipped some “signs and practices of cults” from the internet as headings.

Authoritarian leadership. Cult members are expected to completely submit to a leader who is seen as a prophet, apostle, or special individual with unusual connections to God.

Our authoritarian leader is, of course, Dr. Uffe Ranvskov. All of us who joined the cult have a 10-foot-tall picture of him somewhere in our houses or apartments. We’re required to bow to the picture six times per day while chanting “cholesterol does not cause heart disease.”

Dr. Malcolm Kendrick is our Maximum Leader’s … uh, I mean Dr. Ravnskov’s second-in-command. His picture is only six feet tall and we only have to bow to it on Sundays. However, we all know that any command Dr. Kendrick issues is coming directly from Dr. Ravnskov and should be treated as such.

Opposition to Independent Thinking. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

I’m on the email list for THINCS (The International Network of Cholesterol Sceptics), and I can tell you there’s never any debate or discussion among the members. It’s just one email after another agreeing with whatever Dr. Ravnskov says.  This is, of course, exactly the opposite of what happens with doctors, who are constantly debating the risks and benefits of statins while attending seminars sponsored by Pfizer.

And I can attest to that bit about punishment. Remember when I told you all how I banged myself in the head with a t-post hammer while building a chicken yard? Well, that’s not what happened. I made the mistake of wondering aloud if perhaps statins were okay for some people. I was alone in the back pasture and didn’t think anyone was listening. But sure enough, I got a call from Dr. Ravnskov within the hour.

“Listen, doubter,” he told me. “Your brain clearly isn’t working correctly. I want you to go to the tool shed, grab a 16-pound steel hammer, and smack yourself in the skull with it. Do this, or be banished.”

Love Bombing. Cult members show great attention and love to a person to help transfer emotional dependence to the group.

After he ordered me to hit myself in the head with a hammer, Dr. Ravnskov had several cult members drop by and tell me how awesome I looked with a big wound on my head. Then we all played checkers and they let me win every game.  I never felt more loved.

Isolation. Subservience to the group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

I was hoping all those farm reports including pictures of Chareva and the girls would provide some cover. But the truth is, they left two years ago … perhaps because Chareva asked me why I’m always posting about the dangers of statins, and I offered to smack her in the head with a 16-pound steel hammer to help get her mind right.  Anyway, doesn’t matter.  Those pictures of us working on the farm together are all old.  I now live alone and dedicate all my time and energy to whatever Dr. Ravnskov asks of me.

Group Think. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel.

Yes, that happens all the time in our cult. I don’t know how I feel about it because Dr. Ravnskov hasn’t told me yet.

Salvation. Members are often promised salvation from an apocalyptic future through association with the group and its Special Knowledge.

I can’t explain this one in great detail. I’ve only reached level nine in the cult, which means I haven’t been given all the details on the master plan. (To reach level 10, I have to start giving them 90% of my income instead of the current 75%.)

I do know, however, that the plan came to Dr. Ravnskov in the form of secret messages in Beatles songs. The gist of it is that if we convince everyone to stop taking statins, the current leaders in society will all die of heart attacks. With a leadership void created, the oppressed masses will rise up and kill all the oppressors and all the good doctors who prescribe statins. The cult members, of course, will be hiding out in the desert until it’s over. Then we’ll emerge from hiding, and the formerly oppressed people will welcome us as heroes and put us in charge. Then we’ll oppress them by refusing to let them take statins and other miracle drugs.

If for some reason the oppressed people decide instead to put themselves in charge and oppress us, we’ll all drink a special concoction of coconut oil and bacon fat, at which point a spaceship will pick us up and take us to another universe, where we’ll be placed on a planet with no human population, but an endless supply of eggs. Then our task will be to eat eggs and populate the planet.

I’m not sure how a planet without humans can be full of chickens to lay eggs, but like I said, I haven’t been given all the details.

Mind-Altering Practices. Meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, and debilitating work routines are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader.

I don’t know if we do this one or not. But I have to stop writing now. Dr. Ravnskov just called and told me to go out and mow the entire back of the property, then do it again tomorrow.

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88 Responses to “I Admit It: I’m A Member Of The Cult”
  1. js290 says:

    It’s still a fallacy of presumption… how is having “high cholesterol” bad?

  2. Tom Welsh says:

    Beautiful! I think the idea of either Dr Ravnskov or Dr Kendrick “issuing orders” is in itself richly comic. Both are admirably modest, reserved, balanced thinkers – they embody the true scientific spirit.

    But have you noticed how similar Dr Nissen’s technique of blaming “statin denialists” for the drugs’ unpopularity is to the politicians’ and mainstream media’s technique of blaming Russia for all thought (and even all scepticism) that runs counter to Received Opinion?

    I am afraid you and the good doctors are being lumped in with RT and Mr Putin. (Which, personally, I consider an honour).

    • Tom Naughton says:

      “Denialist” is the word people pushing bogus or unproven theories like to use as an attempt to lump doubters together with Holocaust denialists.

      “See? My critics can’t be right and might possibly be crazy because I called them denialists!”

  3. JIllOz says:

    I have a confession Tom. I always think of you as Dr Ooga Booga Statinooga, my personal Cult Director.

    is that wrong?

  4. Bob Niland says:

    Back in that MedPageToday article, there’s an interesting hint of trouble brewing at the Cleveland Clinic (which hosts both Captain Statin, and some therapy programs run by plant-based life forms):

    Nissen singled out “The Dr. Oz Show” for an article, “Reverse Your Heart Disease in 28 Days,” that didn’t mention statins but instead focused on the Ornish lifestyle-based approach.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Yes, Nissen’s railing against diets and supplements was quite amusing.

      • chris c says:

        Oh we have one of them in the UK, Giles Yeo. He made an entire TV programme hitting out at “fad diets” and lumped together “Clean Eating” which must be the worst one ever, some genuine crank who claimed alkaline diets cured cancer, William “Wheat Belly” Davis,a Real Doctor with Real Patients showing genuine health improvements, and surprisingly T Colon Campbell – many of our dieticians support veganism.

        The only diet that isn’t a “fad” of course is low fat high carb based on grains, Omega 6 seed oils, fruitandvegetables and of course processed “food” such as what the sponsors of the dieticians produce, and The Angry Chef designs. You know, the one that has comprehensively wrecked out health for the last few decades.

        His latest enterprise has been to wear a CGM. Oh dear, some of his postprandial glucose readings are going to take some explaining. I predict he will write a paper claiming that running blood glucose up to 200+ (11 in UK numbers) does NOT indicate diabetes which will rapidly be taken up as Official Advice. Well it will reduce diabetes statistics at a stroke. And reduce the population through strokes.

        To quote Tony Soprano “You fat f*ck!”

        • Tom Naughton says:

          Amazing, isn’t? The low-fat diet, which only became the recommended diet in 1977, is now considered the default diet, while the way humans ate forever is labeled a “fad.”

          • chris c says:

            Exactly! And to take the logic one step further, we must all have been “secretly” eating low fat right up until it was actually invented, and as soon as it WAS invented we all stopped. What other explanation could there possibly be for the “epidemics” of previously nonexistent/low level diseases?

            I find it helps immensely to see their accusations of what “we” do as admissions/descriptions of their own behaviour. A cult of denialists. Hang on, just checking for typos in that last sentence . . . 😉

            Frederick Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth in, I think, The Space Merchants, envisaged a future society where the population was fed a salty snack, which made them thirsty for a sugary drink, which made them crave a cigarette, which made them hungry. Add in a statin and we’re pretty much there. You Will Obey.

  5. Beatrix Willius says:

    Oh no, now I’m confused. I thought you were the cult leader. I mean – look at your bald pate. Isn’t this typical for a cult? Only the man-gowns are missing. These are a must in any cult. And a cult is expensive.

  6. Dianne says:

    Not only am I a member of the same cult, to the endless frustration of my doctor and her nurse practitioner who keep chanting, “Statins DO save lives, statins DO save lives,” but I seek converts wherever I can. Does that put me at least at level 5?

  7. Bob Parker says:

    Thank you Tom for ‘fessing up at last.

    Must be about 8 or 9 years now, having been on the wonderful statins for about 6 months, I started tearing major leg muscles when using a small amount of effort such as running for a bus. I blamed the statins and flushed them down the toilet. I have ever since then refused to accept any statin, or other LDL reducer drug from a doctor.

    But now the truth is out! It was never the statin but rather the nocebo hex that you as high priest of the anti statin cult put on me! I’m going out right now and I’m going to buy 8 years supply of statins and I will sit right down and eat the lot.

    So there!

  8. James H. says:

    Svengali.

    Funny.

  9. Bonnie says:

    Last week my husband smashed his thumb hammering in a t-post. At the time, I didn’t understand the connection between t-post injuries & a refusal to take statins – I just thought he was being a klutz. Are THEY monitoring what I’m reading on-line? O_o

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Between you and me, the t-post accident had to be the result of a call from Dr. Ravnskov. Yes, the cult leaders are everywhere and monitor everything.

  10. Bill says:

    Looks like the establishment is getting more and more rattled. There was a study published recently here in the UK to try and quash the ‘cult’. In fact the word ‘nocebo’ was used by the professor to explain why people are getting sick taking the drugs. The conclusion of his study went as far as to blame individuals for reading the notes that are enclosed in the box and went on to suggest they should be removed. Like Nissen he’s in pay of Pharma. It’s almost as if ‘they’ are engaged in a stratagem to pull sales back on track.

    Whilst on the the second in command’s blog the other day someone posted a Ytube video on a David Diamond talk. He’s done a very good job of analysing everything related to the history of cholesterol, diet and statins and seems able to put it across succinct manner. Well worth an hour of any of the cult members time I’d say.

    I need to go and chant now…….

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Who the heck actually reads those notes? My mom had no idea statins could cause muscle and joint pains, and her doctor certainly didn’t make that suggestion.

      • Bill says:

        Exactly- desperation I think and well we need that next Pharma funded study!

      • Firebird7478 says:

        A friend of mine is a personal trainer and nutritionist. He has one client who is on 9 different medications and she has no idea what any of them do.

      • Phillis Hammond says:

        Apologies for bringing up a sad subject but I’m sure your dad nocebo’d himself into Alzheimer’s too? Maybe Nissen could cure that dreadful disease by telling people to stop reading the insert? Such poor logic on his part should be enough to disqualify him all together, sheesh!

        • Tom Naughton says:

          Of course. My dad’s brain function dwindled because he believed statins might damage his brain — retroactively.

      • chris c says:

        Didn’t you know??? You don’t have to read the notes yourself. You just need to be somewhere within 100 miles of someone else who read the notes and the information is transferred directly into your brain. That’s how dangerous they are. Trust me, I have studies on this. No of course you can’t see the data, it’s confidential, you just have to trust that what I tell you is true. If I need to I’ll tell you three times.

  11. Annlee says:

    Did he really say “pedal” instead of “peddle”? Too funny.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I didn’t alter the text, so apparently he did, yes.

    • Sandy says:

      He was probably worried he’d have to start biking to work if his revenue from Big Pharma dried up due to those pesky, meddling, statin denialists!Freudian slip….

  12. You didn’t really tell about the worst part of the cult.

    Don’t forget how cult members are initially recruited with flattery and promises of magnificent rewards in order to get them to pledge nearly all of their family’s assets to the cult. Having “proven worthy,” they are taken to “education camps” where they are isolated with other recruits and forced to memorize and recite back the cult doctrines. Access to outside information or perspectives is forbidden, and any questioning is swiftly met with threats of ostracism and expulsion.

    Once sufficiently indoctrinated, the recruits are coerced into several years of working long, mind-numbing hours of labor at penury “wages” — ostensibly for the good of the cult, while the poobahs at the top enjoy riches and lavish lifestyles.

    Oh wait. Wrong cult. That’s the “medical school/internships programs” cult.

    Never mind. My bad.

    Cheers!

  13. Ulfric says:

    I’ve seen a real cult leader in a real stretch limousine, leaving one of my local castles (yes I said that) at the end of their Transcendendal Meditation weekend.
    I sometimes park at the castle to shoot bows in the neighbouring field, and was coming back when they were leaving. I popped in to take a leaflet since the stretch limo piqued my curiosity.
    Tom Naughton was not involved, neither did I spot Dr.Kendrick even though he was probably less than a hundred miles away so potentially involved by location.

  14. Barb says:

    I’d been wondering why I had those excruciating shoulder pains and trouble getting up from a chair back in 2005. Thanks for explaining about the retroactive nocebo effect!

  15. Emily says:

    My father’s been having terrible health problems the doctors can’t figure out. They sound very much like statin side effects — oh, excuse me, delusional “nocebo” effects that he’s been brainwashed into somehow even though he doesn’t believe in them. But he refuses to join the cult. This even though his daughter (me) was bamboozled by doctors for years with prescription opiates that they promised were totally safe as they turned her personality to mush.

    So tell me, great guru, how does one induct a nonbeliever? Copies of The Great Cholesterol Con? Or just doing what I’ve been doing: biting my tongue and sitting on my hands because evangelizing even to one’s own father is obnoxious. Though the virulent non-believers don’t seem to have any trouble doing it.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Unfortunately, a lot of older folks still have the doctor-as-god mentality and it’s nearly impossible to get them to go against the diety’s orders. You can try having him read The Great Cholesterol Con, but don’t be surprised if he’s not persuaded.

      • Emily says:

        I think I’ll persuade him eventually; he generally comes around over time. I just hope too much damage isn’t done before then. It’s strange to me that he has this attitude — he generally doesn’t follow authority blindly. Unless it comes in a white coat, I guess.

      • Firebird7478 says:

        My gym changed ownership recently. The younger brother of the owner works the front desk. He’s 22 and already has knee problems from powerlifting (the kid is small and fit). We were discussing medicine and doctors and he told me that he had a discussion with his orthopedic doctor. He told me that the doctor said to him, “Your generation will change the way doctors treat their patients.” When the kid asked how, the doctor held up his smartphone and said, “Because you know how to Google.”

  16. Kathy in OK says:

    I’m so shallow. My favorite part of this whole discussion is the Older Brother’s use of the word “poobahs” – LOL.

    • Georgene in OK too! says:

      I’m still trying to figure out why Chareva and the girls stuck around after the Great Snake escapade! Must be some powerful Mojo in the Naughton household to keep them around!

  17. Elisa says:

    I’d really like a 10ft cutout of Dr Ranvskov, it would look good against my 6ft one of Dr Who. How do I join or is a secret club?

  18. Ralf Sundberg says:

    I just called the prophet, Tom. As you know I am one of his apostles.

  19. DrFeelgood says:

    “Then we all played checkers and they let me win every game. I never felt more loved.”

    I legitimately LOL’d.

    I await your follow-on post regarding whatever punishment befalls you for this act of heresy.

  20. Andrew Bamji says:

    I have a problem, Tom. When we cult members set off for this other planet to eat eggs I cannot do any populating because I had a vasectomy back in 1986. Will this be reversible by cult magic? Or should I hit myself with the hammer?

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I’m in the same situation, so I offered to be in charge of the chickens while others repopulate the planet.

  21. Peter says:

    HI Tom,
    I like to ask you opinion on this
    if you eat diary: I eat lots of cheese and heavy cream no milk , no low fat shit.
    Can It make your man boobs bigger ?
    Thanks

    • Tom Naughton says:

      My guess is that anything that makes you fatter can also make man boobs bigger, since belly fat releases the aromatase that converts testosterone to estrogen. Some people do find that dairy foods encourage weight gain despite being low in carbs because of the insulin response. So I’d say it’s YMMV situation.

      • chris c says:

        I developed a neat pair of A cups but I’m not sure whether they developed when I was hyperthyroid, or when it got overtreated and I went hypothyroid.

        Whatever, now they went away but my belly has started swelling. I suspect a cult member may have impregnated me when I was looking the other way, so they obviously worked. This endocrine stuff can be complicated.

  22. GoldenEye says:

    Ok, so an update. I asked a while back about what kind kind of test to take, and Tom recommended an NMR Lipoprofile.

    I went to my doctor for a checkup and he had me take a cholesterol test. It was very high (thank God for low carb, High fat diets) and my doctor wanted to put me on a statin. I said no, and I haven’t gotten the NMR Lipoprofile yet because we’re trying to get the insurance to cover it.

    However, I realized that I hadn’t asked about what I should look for in the test. I know that you’re supposed to look at LDL particle size and density, and I know that large and fluffy are good, small and dense are bad.

    What should I look for in the NMR Lipoprofile?

  23. Evin says:

    You mentioned that statins have never been proven to prevent heart attacks. It reminds me of how desperate drug companies can be to make money on a drug. A few years ago, Pfizer, the makers of Lipitor, ran a print ad declaring that taking Lipitor reduced the risk of a heart attack by 36 percent. The study they cited actually showed a 1 percent difference in heart attacks between Lipitor and placebo, but they used a calculation known as relative risk reduction, dividing the percentage of people without heart attacks on placebo by the percentage on Lipitor, and voila! That one percent difference suddenly becomes 36 percent, and they convince people that Lipitor is a wonder drug that will save them from heart disease.

  24. Xander says:

    Have you heard of the documentary ‘What the Health?” It states that a vegan diet is a safe diet, while eating meats, dairy and eggs is what is causing heart disease and diabetes. It even states that people who eat high amounts of carbohydrate show fewer cases of diabetes. The documentary even goes so far to say that eating an egg every day is the equivalent to smoking 5 cigarettes and that milk is a carcinogen. I would love to hear your take on this, Tom.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I chose not to punish myself by watching it. Robb Wolf and Nina Teicholz both took it apart.

      If the morons who think an egg is the same as smoking five cigarettes actually believe that, I’ll make them a deal: I’ll eat four eggs per day and they can smoke 20 cigarettes per day. We’ll compare health status 20 years from now.

    • Firebird7478 says:

      I posted this before, Xander, but if you missed it…enjoy!

  25. Lori Miller says:

    I can tell Dr. Nissen is a knucklehead because his tarot card reading come up with the Fool and the Barking Dog.

  26. Phillis Hammond says:

    Okay, I’ve got to tell about this one. One of our local news affiliates has a health segment. As bad as most of the advice is this segment was particularly bad. The registered dietician “expert” went full Save The Grains. She obliquely tore into the low carb high fat/ketogenic lifestyle and basically said that it was stupid. Her mantra was some grains are necessary and good for us and sugar is not as bad as we’ve been led to believe. Of course she was parading her size 6 body around like it was a testimony and telling the good folks that if we’d just come to her business we’d learn the dietary truth AND if we came she’d donate to the local animal shelter that she is partnered with where you can also get a puppy! I think I just about drove my husband out of the room with all the teeth grinding, hahaha! Yep, that’s all we need, heart-healthy whole grains, low fat, semi-vegan and…A PUPPY!!!

  27. Shawn York says:

    It would be “noteworthy” if it were just the increased rate of obesity that just so happened to perfectly match the rate of RoundUp application in the U.S. all the way back to 1974.

    And it would be even more remarkable if it were just the increase of Autism and anxiety disorders that we could add to this list and then be done with it. We’d all be cheering for more research to get to the bottom of what everyone would admit, at an absolute minimum, is a remarkable coincidence that could lead to valuable information and therefore worthy of additional research. Right?

    But the number of modern diseases that now match the curve of RoundUp application in the United States is so far above 75% — you would think people would be rioting in the streets for answers. But they aren’t.

    And still — we have nothing. Nothing but hundreds of reports and data from farmers all over the world claiming sick animals, sick soils and sick crops — and the fact that they all believe its related to GMO’s and their RoundUp usage on corn and soy feed. And the fact that numerous countries are now starting to reject our food and send it back to us because they deem it unsafe for their consumption due to Glyphosate contamination.

    Glyphosate provides, in my opinion, a perfect “hand in glove” explanation for not only the short list above, but also for the huge increase in Alzheimer’s, ALS, casseine intolerance, diabetes, panic disorders, celiacs disease and depression — and almost every one of these “new” autoimmune disorders and cancers that have popped up in the last 10 years as well.

    Cows that eat GMO RoundUp corn and soy get sick. Really sick. And when they stop eating it they get better. There are dozens of credible studies that have been conducted in the last 15 years that establish this fact. Indisputable studies. And hundreds of scientists and researchers are screaming for more research and begging for funds. But nobody will help them. There are just way too many people who will lose their paychecks by speaking up.

    The fact that we still don’t have the “definitive”, “final”, “acceptable” or “conclusive” evidence or research that we so obviously need is, in and of itself, another huge anomaly worth paying attention to.

    But what really blows my mind is the resistance some people have to the idea itself. This is just plain weird to me; Is it just too unbelievably frightening and preposterous to entertain the possibility that there is one single chemical that is actually causing all of this damage and disease?

    Are some people just too completely convinced that their beloved government would never ever allow such a thing to happen?

    Or are they convinced that their religious leaders would’ve informed them first had such an aggressive attack of mass genocide occurred against their own families and country?

    Monsanto and the Western Medicine Industrial Complex are holding our planet hostage and are currently in the process of successfully carrying out the largest mass genocide ever in the history of humanity. And it’s targeted specifically against our families and the citizens of this country. And their doing it with a chemical called “RoundUp” (Glyphosate).

    But the tides are about to turn; Mother Nature is in charge of this particular fiasco. And “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.

  28. Judy B says:

    Dr. Kendrick had some comments about the “cult” in his most recent blog.

  29. Kelly Tague says:

    I’m a member. Trying to get my husband off of the pill!

  30. EatLessMoveMoore says:

    I like to show up on your blog regularly because I have an unhealthy obsession with Jimmy Moore, and trashing him makes me feel better about my pathetic loser status. Also, I’m incapable of grasping the concept that if he has a huge following, it’s because people find value in what he does.

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