Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Here we go again - The Statins Issue

The latest news from the BBC says that "Millions more healthy people could be put on cholesterol-lowering drugs." "Under current plans around one in four adults aged over 40 is to be prescribed Statins on the NHS. GPs will begin the risk assessments later this year."

The research comes from the Maccabi Healthcare Services and Sackler Faculty of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel and the BBC News page doesn't mention any risks involved in taking Statins.

Well here are some information segments from a few other sites, assumed to be responsible in their reporting of any health issues involved in Statins use.

The Mail Online reported in June 2006 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-392689/Statins-Side-effects-anti-cholesterol-drugs-questioned.html) that taking Statins was causing mental and neurological problems like irritability, memory loss and muscle weakness, leading in extreme cases to muscle cell breakdown and kidney failure. Dr Ravnskov said the reason Statins are considered safe is that trials do not include people who are likely to have problems.

"Cholesterol is vital for the development and functioning of the
brain," says Ravnskov, "so it's not surprising that various
psychological problems show up."

A further comment from that same article stated that for a non-drug approach a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2005) found that omega-3 reduced the chance of dying from heart disease more than Statins.

MedicineNet (http://www.medicinenet.com/statins/page2.htm#toce) reported that the most common side effects are headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diahorrea, rash, weakness and muscle pain. More serious but, fortunately rare, effects are liver failure and rhabdomyolysis - a serious side effect in which there is damage to muscles. Starting with muscle pain and progressinsg to loss of muscle cells, kidney failure and eventual death.

I appreciate that these reports are from a few years ago but nothing has really changed and I still wonder if what I asked in a previous blog post is still a valid question. Are Statins an unwanted by-product of some other process and this is a convenient and legal way of dumping this waste material without causing environmental issues?

I have diabetes and as such have to take care of my health, I have fought against taking Statins but my doctor has insisted that Statins are the way to go. I would still love to take something else for the treatment of high cholesterol but the medical professionals seem rather reluctant to take much notice of my requests.

It really worries me that some people, who are actually healthy, are going to be encouraged to take some potentially harmful medication to keep the drug manufacturers in business.

I know that this is yet another rant but I do feel that this is important to bring to the public eye - just because you are over 40 years old you will be screened and probably prescribed Statins.

Is this right?

Yours, in frustration,


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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Surveillance State - What next?

The first of the latest warnings about threats to personal liberty and freedom came on Friday 6 Feb 09 with the 'Electronic surveillance and collection of personal data' information from the House of Lords. Civil liberties campaign group Liberty have said that abuses of power have meant that "even the innocent have a lot to fear" and that the proposed database to store e-mails and phone calls is giving the government. Said database has been put on hold after these were branded 'Orwellian' but there have been further thoughts about how to initiate it in the near future. For further information on this see the BBC News page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7872425.stm

A lot of the complaint comes from the misuse of CCTV data just to convict people who allow their dogs to foul the pavement (sidewalk, for the American readers) or littering - rather than for crime fighting. We, in the UK, have the highest density of CCTV cameras in Europe with an estimated four million cameras.

Security camera at London (Heathrow) Airport. ...Image via Wikipedia

The latest (08 Feb 09) joke comes from the fact that the government is compiling a database 'to track and store the international travel details of millions of Britons'. "Computerised records of all 250 million journeys made by individuals in and out of the UK each year will be kept for up to 10 years." To read more on this see the BBC News page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7877182.stm

This information will include names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details of travellers. It will probably also include details of who you are travelling with and where your eventual destination is located.

While I understand the perceived need for screening passengers and checking these against criminal lists, I do wonder why the government wants to set up a database of travellers and keep these records for ten, or more, years and at what financial cost to the country and what personal cost to the individual.

Orwell had it right - Big Brother really is watching you, pass my bottle of gin please.

I called this a joke but there really isn't that much to laugh about.

Take care and try to avoid the cameras.

Love to all, Ainsley

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