Cholesterol Deception and the Creation of a Dietary Myth

Dr David Diamond is a professor in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida. He teaches a seminar entitled “Myths and Deception in Medical Research”, which critically evaluates the methods and conflicts of interest in health-related research.

In recent years he's written papers on diet, cholesterol and statins, including one published in the journal “Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology”, which describes the deceptive practices employed by researchers promoting statins for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

This talk is an excellent outline of those deceptive practices (the use of "relative risk reduction" for example, see below) and is particularly useful for the historical context it provides. So if you want to know why going low-fat will make you fat, or why if you're over 60 and want to live longer, you may wish to consider increasing your cholesterol levels, this is well worth a watch.

Just a note on "relative risk reduction", because it's so outrageous I feel the need to highlight this: 

You give Group A statins (for example) and group B a placebo.
Group A has a 98% survival rate; Group B has a 97% survival rate. That's a 1% difference. But not if you're in the pharmaceutical industry! No, they say, that 3% in group B died and we had a 1% improvement, so let's divide that 1% by the 3% and then we turn 1% into 33% and although it's a compete fabrication we can use that big number to shift more product. So we have a 1% "absolute risk reduction" that is marketed as a 33% "relative risk reduction*", and then they hide the side effects data (but that's for another post), so that's why statins are a "blockbuster" success! They're a success for the pharmaceutical industry and a complete disaster for anyone who takes them. Statins in my view are the number one "litigator's wet dream of the future"; a gigantic class action lawsuit just waiting to happen.

Anyway, here's the professor chewing the fat.

Note: This is a YouTube only affair (opens in a new window) and I've skipped the intro, which is okay, but not required.