Chris B

So vitamins in pill form are harmful, but statins are recommended for everyone? This doesn't pass the smell test. I take neither, but if I had to choose between the two, I definitely wouldn't favor a statin.

I suppose if you prefer to eat garbage and want to live a little longer, maybe a statin is for you. However, what our medical professionals should be discussing with their patients is diet first and pills as a last resort.

In general, it sounds like this author relies too heavily on epidemiological studies, which have their place, but must be picked apart to understand the many layers of complexity that exist in the real world. He says statins reduce some diseases in a short term study, but long term studies have not yet been performed. However, he goes ahead and suggests we all take statins. I've never understood this about "evidence-based" medicine that relies only on available evidence when there are clear gaps in understanding. Sometimes I think it should be called "ignorance-based" medicine.

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Mark Sanders

I challenge Dr. Argus to tell us why any woman should take statins. Does he have statistical evidence that women who take statins live longer than those who don't? I doubt it, because it doesn't exist. You might have an argument for men with cardiovascular symptoms, but for women, it doesn't matter their age or condition, statins simply do not help them live longer.

Mark Sanders

Sorry, I meant Dr. Agus

Serious Man

In one of the answers above, it spoke of the patient knowing themselves. I am very serious when I tell you that some years ago, having been placed on pain killers due to severe surgical complications, I found that I felt very improved AS A PERSON with these drugs. Not only was the horrendous pain eased, but my feelings of kindness, gratitude, and the such were much heightened. I was the "best me" I felt I'd ever been.

Of course, after I healed and there was no longer a need for the pain killers, I returned to the old me. Now, I'm not a ogre by any means, but what I felt inside was significantly less joyful and meaningful than I had felt while on pain killers. I've heard of people who get sick, grumpy, irritated, or what have you, when on pain killers. And I've heard of analogous side-effects for those who get drunk (e.g., the mean drunk vs. the "I love you, man" drunk). So maybe that is what is going on with me. But that being said, IF IF IF hydrocodone truly made me into (I think) a better person, how do you EVER address that? I mean, I can't just go to a doctor and say, "No, I'm not in physical pain, but those pain killers I took a few years back truly benefited me."

I AM NOT BEING FACETIOUS. I was never addicted, to my knowledge. When my pain was goin--AND when my pills ran out--that was it. I never lied my doctor to get more. I just did without. And I was very depressed to tell you the truth. I realized that the world without narcotics was much blander, much less "precious."

That sounds like addiction, I know. And yet, if it was, I suffered no physical issues. It was more along the lines of leaving a beautiful vacation spot to return to your boring job--ha! I can live without such things...but must I?

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PaulD

Maybe what you use of painkillers revealed was that you suffer from depression. I imagine we all feel happier with the assistance of opiates, but if normal outlook on life is less than positive, perhaps you should see a doctor about whether a non-narcotic drug (such as a seratonin reuptake inhibiter) could help you.

I don't have much experience with painkillers, but I think if you were to take them on a permanent basis the joy wouldn't last.

Travis

Bah. I was really hoping he would answer the question as to how much or how little we should worry about sitting all day at our desk jobs, and how much a "standing" desk helps. (I'm almost sure someone asked the question!).

Enter your name...

Agus talks about "the power genetic testing can have on individuals", but the fact is that individuals rarely make lifestyle changes as a result of genetic testing.

It's been studied: The researchers usually go in with the belief that it should be illegal for people to do any genetic testing without a licensed physician right there to hold their hands, because they'll be so confused and overwhelmed with anxiety that they'll all commit suicide.

Then they talk to people who have done it, and they discover that they're not even anxious enough to make small lifestyle changes. "Oh, yeah," the patients say, "I've got a high risk of developing heart disease. I guess I'll get more medical testing, but I'm not going to get more exercise, or stop eating sausages and potato chips every day, or start eating vegetables, or anything radical like that."

Name Entered

Great quotes. Very scientific.

Brandon

What an interesting post and discussion.

@ Chris b:
exactly what I was thinking in your last paragraph.

Also, how is, "eat more fruits and vegetables" or any suggestion related to diet not one of the TOP TEN things you can do for your health? Am I missing something here? Do we really have better, more rigorous science on statins than the effects of diet on health?

TJ Photo

I think there's much of value in Agus' argument, but his answers here are somewhere between evasion and downright lying when he claims that he's never made certain blanket statements such as everyone should take aspirin or that multivitamins are of no value. He made these precise statements on Fareed Zakaria's GPS program as well, with little or no inclusion of the standard "discuss with your doctor" caveat. He made the statement that sitting for five hours is "equivalent to smoking a pack and a half of cigarets" on that same program. Oh, come on! This is not just deceptive as a blanket statement without parsing or explanation of how the two are somehow equivalent; it's totally irresponsible.

If I'm not mistaken, Hippocrates said "Let food be thy medicine." Starting with this wisdom, Agus and the rest of us would all be better off. The evidence is fairly overwhelming by now that preventing major diseases can be accomplished best with a proper diet, before it becomes necessary to use the barbaric methods that we call cancer treatment today, for one example.

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Jon Rumney

I have just finished reading your book THE END OF ILLNESS which was fascinating but I was disappointed not to read one mention of Warfarin. I had been taking small aspirin for a number of years when I developed atrial fibrillation. I was taken off the Aspirin and put on Warfarin. As both
drugs are used to delay blood-clotting time and there is evidence that Aspirin is of benefit to our health for a nimber of other reasons, why prescribe Warfarin which seems to have no other purpose (except to kill rats) amd requires innnumerable visits to overcrowded blood clinics to monitor dosage.

Jeff

Whaaaaaaa??? Avoid supplements? Take statins? Use sunscreen? Get flu shots? Who is this guy working for? Whaat's his real agenda? Avoid supplements, use suncreeen, take statins, and get a yearly flu shot, buddy, then I want to see your blood work compared to those who don't. All else being equal.

paulagreenstein

What are your thoughts on toxins
Is this a manufactured issue to sell cleanses and detox products?

Phil Mercurio

My wife is 64. She has end-stage Alzheimer's Dementia and is in a nursing home. She was diagnosed at age 59 but was symptomatic for years before that. She never smoked, was never overweight, did not abuse alcohol or any substance. She is highly educated and worked until the disease degraded her cognition. Is their any hope for her? Thank you for any guidance you can provide.