You will recall that some weeks ago, I posted about a study in which the researchers suggested free statins should be offered with fast food to offset the cardiovascular damage. Some of you wondered if the study was tongue-in-cheek. Apparently not. One of the researchers left a comment today. Here is it in case you didn’t see it:
Thank you for your interest in our article. Please let me clarify that we were not writing tongue in cheek, nor were we joking. Heart attacks are serious for our patients and those that suffer them often wish they could have been prevented.
What we are asking is why is it routine in fast food restaurants to have unhealthy condiments provided free (e.g. salt) which have no beneficial properties, and yet no access at that location to statins?
It can’t be because salt (for example) is healthier than statins.
Statins do not prevent many deaths in primary populations, i.e. people who seem healthy. They do convincingly prevent heart attacks but, since heart attacks are usually with modern care not fatal, these prevented heart attacks cannot be expected to translate into lives actually saved in a quantity that would be convincing to a neutral observer.
As for side effects of statin, they are few, when the genuine statin muscle abnormalities are compared to the blank placebo tablets. The power of the human imagination is gigantic: more than most people imagine (if that is not a self-defeating statement).
Daily statin tablets are now routine therapy for patients whose future diet and exercise are considered permanently irreparable; how can that be right and yet an individual statin an individual unhealthy meal be wrong?
How can it be right to hand out salt to people who may have high blood pressure (without checking or even asking), sugar to people who may be diabetic (without checking or asking), and excess calories to people who may be overweight (even obviously obese); and YET wrong to even make available statins for those who wish to exercise their free choice to have them? Let me reiterate that it is not the presence of the former that I object to, nor the lack of the latter, but the conjunction of the former being routine but the latter forbidden.
I do appreciate your good-humoured look at life, and at science. Keep it up. Somebody has to ask awkward questions – and you are definitely doing that. But that, too, is what I am doing in my own way.
Best wishes from London,
So there you have it, straight from the source. Statins are better for you than salt, so we should allow people to self-medicate.
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