Hard scientific evidence of the effects of diet, pharmaceutical drugs & lifestyle on health from over 1,400 studies from research centers, universities and peer reviewed scientific journals.

Research by David Evans

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Statins have a significant negative impact on quality-of-life

This study was published in Pharmacotherapy 2009 Jul;29(7):800-11
Study title and authors:
Statin-associated adverse cognitive effects: survey results from 171 patients.
Evans MA, Golomb BA.
Department of Medicine, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0995, USA.
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19558254

The objective of the study was to characterize the adverse cognitive effects of statins. In the study, a survey was completed by 171 patients (age range 34-86 yrs) who had self-reported memory or other cognitive problems associated with statin therapy.

The study found:
(a) Of 143 patients who reported stopping statin therapy, 128 (90%) reported improvement in cognitive problems, sometimes within days of statin discontinuation.
(b) In some patients, a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's disease reportedly was reversed.
(c) 19 patients whose symptoms improved or resolved after they discontinued statin therapy and who underwent rechallenge with a statin exhibited cognitive problems again (multiple times in some).
(d) Higher potency statins led to higher rates of cognitive-specific adverse drug reaction.
(e) Quality of life was significantly adversely affected.

Evans concludes: "Findings from the survey suggest that cognitive problems associated with statin therapy have variable onset and recovery courses, a clear relation to statin potency, and significant negative impact on quality-of-life".

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Statin users have an increased risk of cataract

This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology 2013 Sep 19

Study title and authors:
Association of Statin Use With Cataracts: A Propensity Score-Matched Analysis.
Leuschen J, Mortensen EM, Frei CR, Mansi EA, Panday V, Mansi I.
Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgery Center, San Antonio, Texas2San Antonio Military Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas.

This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24052188

The objective of the study was to compare the risks for development of cataracts between statin users and nonusers. The study included 6,972 statin users who were compared with 6,972 nonusers.

The study found:
(a) The risk for cataract was 9% higher among statin users in comparison with nonusers.
(b) In patients with no comorbidities according to the Charlson Comorbidity Index, (the Charlson comorbidity index predicts the ten-year mortality for a patient who may have a range of comorbid conditions, such as heart disease, AIDS, or cancer a total of 22 conditions), the risk for cataract was 27% higher among statin users in comparison with nonusers.

Leuschen concludes: "The risk for cataract is increased among statin users as compared with nonusers".

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Statin users have a 26% increased risk of liver function test abnormalities

This study was published in Pharmacotherapy 2004 May;24(5):584-91
Study title and authors:
Statins and liver toxicity: a meta-analysis.
de Denus S, Spinler SA, Miller K, Peterson AM.
Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA 19103-4495, USA.
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15162892

Liver function tests measure various chemicals in the blood made by the liver. An abnormal result indicates the presence of liver disease.

The objective of the study was to assess the risk of liver function test abnormalities with the use of statins. The study was a meta-analysis of 13 randomized, placebo-controlled trials of statins including 49,275 patients.

The study found that statin users had a 26% increased risk of liver function test abnormalities compared to non users.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Statins increase the risk of delirium by 52% after cardiac operations

This study was published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2012 May;93(5):1439-47

Study title and authors:
Preoperative statin therapy is not associated with a decrease in the incidence of delirium after cardiac operations.
Mariscalco G, Cottini M, Zanobini M, Salis S, Dominici C, Banach M, Onorati F, Piffaretti G, Covaia G, Realini M, Beghi C.
Department of Surgical and Morphological Sciences, Cardiac Surgery Unit, Varese University Hospital, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy. giovannimariscalco@yahoo.it

This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22541176

This study investigated the association between preoperative statins with the incidence of postoperative delirium in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. The study included 1,577 patients receiving preoperative statins who were matched with a control group of 1,577 not receiving statins.

The study found patients receiving preoperative statins had a 52% increased risk of postoperative delirium compared to patients not taking statins.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

After six months of taking statins, over 20% of people develop muscle pain

This study was published in Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia 2014 Jul;103(1):33-40
Study title and authors:
Evaluation of sexual dimorphism in the efficacy and safety of simvastatin/atorvastatin therapy in a southern brazilian cohort.
Smiderle L, Lima LO, Hutz MH, Sand CR, Van der Sand LC, Ferreira ME, Pires RC, Almeida S, Fiegenbaum M.
Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25120083

This study evaluated the effects of simvastatin/atorvastatin on men and women. The six month study included 495 patients, aged 25-82 years, (331 women and 164 men), who received simvastatin/atorvastatin.

When high levels of creatine phosphokinase are detected in the blood, it is considered to be an abnormal result. High levels of the enzyme may occur due to the following conditions:
  • heart attack
  • pericarditis after a heart attack
  • polymyositis or dermamyositis
  • heart muscle inflammation
  • myopathy (a disease of the muscles)
  • rhabdomyolysis (a breakdown of muscle tissues)
  • muscular dystrophies
  • convulsions
  • stroke
  • brain injury
  • delirium tremens
  • hypothyroidism (a decrease in the activity of the thyroid gland) or hyperthyroidism (an increase in activity of the thyroid gland)
  • death of lung tissue
After six months the study found:
(a) 20.3% of the patients developed muscle pain.
(b) 11.1% of the patients had increased creatine phosphokinase levels and/or abnormal liver function.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Review finds unprocessed red meats are one of the best sources of high quality protein and make important contributions to nutrient intakes

This paper was published in Meat Science 2014 Nov;98(3):445-51

Study title and authors:
Red meats: Time for a paradigm shift in dietary advice.
Binnie MA, Barlow K, Johnson V, Harrison C.
Canadian Pork Council, 1962 Faircloth Road, London, Ontario N6G 5J3, Canada. Electronic address: binnie@cpc-ccp.com.

This paper can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25041653

Also http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0309174014001922

Binnie notes that a growing body of research suggests dietary advice to limit red meat is unnecessarily restrictive and not supported by current evidence.

This review found:
(i) Large population studies both in Europe and North America have recently reported no association between intakes of unprocessed red meat and any cause of death, including cardiovascular disease or cancer.
(ii) This is consistent with the findings of the largest meta-analyses of the worldwide evidence showing no association between unprocessed red meat and coronary heart disease.
(iii) Recommendations to limit red meat intakes date back several decades and were originally intended to reduce saturated fat intakes. Recent meta-analyses have concluded that there is no clear evidence to support decades of dietary guidelines to cut saturated fat intake.
(iv) Meanwhile such guidance may have inadvertently contributed to dietary changes associated with the rapid rise in the prevalence of obesity since the 1970s as well as other risk factors for heart disease.
(v) A decline in energy from nutrient-rich foods such as beef, milk and eggs has been accompanied by an excessive increase in energy from fats (including trans fats) and refined carbohydrates found in many processed convenience foods. The resulting energy gap has likely contributed to obesity and chronic disease.
(vi) The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) followed close to half a million people in 10 European countries for more than 12 years. The EPIC study found no significant association between unprocessed red meat intakes and all-cause mortality or death due to CVD, cancer or other causes. Furthermore, a higher risk of all-cause mortality was observed among participants with very low or no red meat consumption.
(vii) A recent analysis of data from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) concluded that meat consumption was not associated with mortality. Researchers reported no significant association between red meat intake including beef, pork, ham, and organ meats and total mortality or cause-specific mortality due to cardiovascular disease or cancer. Those who ate red meat more often tended to have lower body mass index and a smaller waist circumference. Furthermore, those who ate red meat more often were less likely to have hypertension than those who ate red meat less often.
(viii) In addition to high quality protein, red meat contains important essential micronutrients including, iron, zinc, selenium, potassium and a range of B-vitamins including niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamins B6 and B12.
(ix) The iron and zinc found in red meats is more bioavailable than in alternative food sources, and red meat can enhance the absorption of these important minerals. Iron plays vital roles in children's early cognitive development, normal energy metabolism and the immune system. Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system, wound healing and for children's normal growth and reproductive development.
(x) Red meats also contain useful amounts of the minerals selenium and potassium. Selenium acts as an antioxidant and is necessary for immune system function. Potassium plays an important role in blood pressure regulation.
(xi) Red meats also provide a range of B-vitamins including thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamins B6 and B12. B-vitamins play important roles in the functioning of the nervous system and in releasing energy from foods.
(xii) Recent evidence also challenges decades of advice to limit naturally nutrient-rich foods such as red meats in efforts to reduce saturated fat intake. According to a 2014 review and meta-analysis, current evidence does not support decades of dietary guidelines that encourage low consumption of saturated fat to promote heart health. This review takes into account evidence from 45 observational studies and 27 randomised controlled trials on coronary heart disease risks based on dietary data from more than 600,000 people in Europe, North America and Asia.
(xiii) An earlier meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies also concluded that saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. In another review of evidence-based dietary guidance on saturated fat and cardiovascular disease, the authors concluded that dietary recommendations did not reflect the evidence.
(xiv) Energy intakes from processed foods have increased dramatically at the expense of nutrient-rich foods, such as red meat. Research suggests processed foods are associated with the growing burden of obesity and associated diseases in recent decades.

Binnie concludes: "Unprocessed red meats are one of the best sources of high quality protein and make important contributions to nutrient intakes. It is time for dietary advice that emphasizes the value of unprocessed red meat as part of a healthy balanced diet".

Monday, 18 August 2014

Low cholesterol levels predict high death rates in the very elderly

This study was published in Clinical Interventions in Aging 2014 Feb 13;9:293-300

Study title and authors:
Serum total cholesterol concentration and 10-year mortality in an 85-year-old population.
Takata Y, Ansai T, Soh I, Awano S, Nakamichi I, Akifusa S, Goto K, Yoshida A, Fujii H, Fujisawa R, Sonoki K
Division of General Internal Medicine, School of Oral Health Science, Kyushu Dental College, Kitakyushu, Japan.

This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24611005

This study evaluated the effect of cholesterol levels with death rates in the very elderly. The study included 207 very elderly (85-year-old) participants who were followed for ten years. The participants were allocated into three groups:
(i) High cholesterol: more than 209 mg/dL (5.4 mmol/L)
(ii) Intermediate cholesterol: between 176-208 mg/dL (4.5-5.3 mmol/L)
(iii) Low cholesterol: less than 175 mg/dL (4.5 mmol/L)

The study found:
(a) The group with the lowest cholesterol levels had a 72% higher death rate compared to the group with the highest cholesterol.
(b) Death rates decreased by 0.9% with each 1 mg/dL increase in cholesterol levels.
(c) Death rates decreased by 0.8% with each 1 mg/dL increase in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
(d) Death rates decreased by 1.0% with each 1 mg/dL increase in high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels.
(e) Death rates decreased by 0.3% with each 1 mg/dL increase in triglyceride levels.

Takata concluded: "These findings suggest that low TC (total cholesterol) and low LDL-C may be independent predictors of high mortality in the very elderly".