Newsmax came to my attention in this article that they published about the supposed benefits of high-dose statins.
They headlined it with this ludicrous claim — they “boost survival:”
So I wanted to show you the problems, fallacies and lies laced through this research.
Keep in mind that just about the entire medical industry is funded and paid for by the major Big Pharma companies.
The lead investigator of the flawed statin study that they’re talking about is receiving the Merck Fellowship this year.
That means she’s getting paid a lot of money.
Of course, there are no strings attached — wink, wink.
So I wanted to show you how this article is just a stupid puff piece.
This Newsmax article is full of tricks and lies — it’s just a terrible article.
Sorry if your Newsmax fan.
Here’s a section that sets my teeth on edge.
Study researchers “provide compelling evidence that statins reduce mortality even when measured at only one year of exposure and that the reduction in mortality is greater with high-intensity statin therapy,” Bonow and Yancy wrote.
One caveat, however, is that the findings should be interpreted with caution because they run counter to those from randomized clinical trials, the editorial said.
Pay attention to that second paragraph.
Look at its statement that these findings “run counter to those from randomized clinical trials.”
That should set off alarm bells.
So let’s look at the study and see what it does say and what it does not say.
This is not a randomized controlled study.
So it is not a good study at all.
It is really pure garbage that can be statistically manipulated by the drug companies to show anything that they want.
Now, as I said, the drug companies did not directly fund the study.
But all of the people running the study and Stanford Medical School receive a ton of funding from the drug companies.
Keep in mind that if the study were true, it would lead to MILLIONS more people taking much larger doses of statin drugs.
And this is a great profit for Big Pharma.
So let’s look at the study closely:
The study claims to show that:
There was an inverse association between intensity of statin therapy and mortality, with the greatest 1-year mortality reductions for patients receiving high-intensity statins. These findings were consistent across multiple subgroups, including adults older than 75 years.
The big red flag here is that this is what is called a “cohort study.”
A cohort study means that researchers can pick and choose what data they want to evaluate.
They can select a group of people who participated in some other study and look at that study’s data.
Then they come to some conclusion that is supposedly based on the study data they chose.
If they don’t like some of the people in the study, they can just disregard them.
In other words, they can basically leap to any study conclusions they want from a cohort study.
Here, we’ll use a relatable example to clarify things.
Let’s say you are going to prove that teenagers who only have three hours of sleep do better on tests.
To start, you’d pull some teenagers who only got three hours of sleep.
Then you’d throw out those teenagers who did poorly on tests.
Your cohort study would include only teenagers who had three hours of sleep and did great on their tests.
I’m sure there are some teenagers who do actually perform well when they’ve had only three hours of sleep.
But there aren’t that many who can do better on tests all the time with so little sleep.
So you see how easily you can create the data set that supports your conclusion without having any real evidence.
You can get that study to show teenagers who only get three hours of sleep get a good grade on tests simply by eliminating all the ones who don’t do great on tests.
That’s what they did with this study.
And that’s the sort of manipulation they do with all of these studies.
It’s just simple statistical trickery:
To limit patients intolerant of statins and include patients receiving a stable dosage of statins, we excluded patients currently receiving a moderate-intensity statin who had previously been prescribed (in the prior 5 years) a higher-intensity statin, which excluded 70,439 patients receiving moderate-intensity statins and low-intensity statins.
And they eliminated anybody that has had side effects of statins.
The researchers stacked the deck to include only people who would support their conclusion.
That’s just like our example where the study excludes all those teenagers who only had three hours of sleep and who did poorly on their tests.
Even so, this so-called study only shows a very moderate improvement in lifespan.
And then only over one year, because they only studied one year.
So let’s put this in everyday language.
Here’s what the study showed after all of that statistical trickery.
- 4.0% mortality of high dose statins.
- 4.8% mortality for those receiving moderate-intensity statins.
- 5.7% mortality for those receiving low-intensity statin therapy.
- 6.6% mortality for those receiving no statin therapy.
That seems pretty open and shut when you put it that way.
You have a 4% chance of dying taking high-dose statins, and a 6.6% chance of dying if you don’t take any statins.
So for the first year, there’s a difference of just 2.6% less chance of dying.
But let’s look at what that really means once you look at the statistical trickery in the study.
There are actually some important facts buried in the study itself — as opposed to the made up numbers they reported.
Usually, researchers have a lot of integrity — they go into their careers wanting to make real discoveries.
So there is some integrity to the data, although you have to look really closely to find it.
These researchers are not liars and are not bad people.
I think they are kind of misleading people in this case.
But the truth is usually in these studies — although nobody bothers to look far enough.
But do the looking for you.
These are the real numbers.
So look at where I have note one marked.
I’ve marked the first red highlighted line in the chart — one-year mortality.
The “high” and “moderate” labels refer to the high dose and the moderate dose people.
Amongst people less than 75-years old, 3.3% died compared to 3.6%.
The actual number of people who took the high dose that died versus the moderate dose is a difference of 300 people out of 101,000 people.
So 101,000 people had to take high amounts of a toxic drug so that 300 more people would survive one year.
That’s a lot of side effects for that very small number of people.
And we’re not quite done.
Now look on the right side of that first line where I highlighted.
Among people 76 to 84 years old, you would have to treat 25,000 to 55,000 people.
And you would save a total of… drumroll… 216 people.
You might say to me, “Matt, 200 or 300 people is a lot.”
However, I would say, “It’s nothing like that.”
And I could say that because they excluded all the people that were taking statin drugs who had bad side effects.
Just like the example where they excluded all the teenagers who got three hours sleep and failed their test.
Taking out anyone who could create an opposite result completely invalidates the experiment.
What else would you expect to see without any opposing data?
I would say that even with all the statistical trickery, the results of this experiment are really terrible.
They can’t even show much of a result, and they had to use over 100,000 people in the study to get that far.
And this is the last part of the statistical trick that I want to point out.
If an effect is strong, you can test it with 100 people and find a strong effect.
But if you see a study with 100,000 people, it’s a red flag.
It means that they needed a large number of people to see even a small result.
You can bet they had to pull some statistical tricks to support their conclusions.
This is just an example of what I go through every day for you, my most important and valuable subscriber.
I look at the studies and tear them apart.
And I find that only maybe 1% of them are actually worth anything.
Studies like this are just propaganda for the drug companies.
I hope you’re not taking statins.
I hope you talk your doctor.
You can show your doctor this article and see what he thinks.
When he reads the paper, if he has the information in this article he may come to the right decision about statins.
Association Between Intensity of Statin Therapy and Mortality in Patients With Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease