Friday, November 30, 2007

A quote from Lipitor: Thief of Memory by Duane Graveline

Many questions still exist about the precise mechanism by which cholesterol modulates the formation and function of those magic contact points between brain cells known as synapses, but there is no longer the slightest doubt that it is vital to this role and must be present in sufficient quantity. Not bad press for a substance defined over the past decades as so notorious it can now be used to frighten small children about their eating habits.
-- Lipitor Thief of Memory by Duane Graveline

I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book to anyone who isn't a medical professional or a biochemistry geek, but it does propose the following points:

- If you are taking Lipitor or another similarly powerful statin, you may be at risk for developing transient global amnesia and other cognitive problems--even if you have been taking it for years with no problems.

- Cholesterol does not seem to be the big problem in the development of artherosclerosis; homocysteine seems to be a more likely culprit, and you can counter it by taking a vitamin B6 supplement.

- Many doctors aren't aware of the memory damage that statins can cause, so it's up to patients to be aware of the possibility.

- The low-fat, low-cholesterol diet espoused by the American Heart Association for decades has likely made artherosclerosis worse, and has probably resulted in people being fatter than they would otherwise be.

Other than that, it's a lot of cell physiology and biochemistry, with a few statistics thrown in. A pretty dry read, but blessedly short at a little over 150 pages.


Andee said...

My doctor wants me to take a statin because of my high LDL, although my HDL/TG ratio is very good (very low triglycerides). I just won't do it. I don't trust those drugs. I haven't seen any proof that they lower heart disease risk in women, and they come with a hornet's nest worth of other potential problems attached. Thanks for helping affirm that I'm doing what's right for me.

Andee (Meowser)

Hilary said...

I'm doing some research on this subject because my doctor just told me if my cholesterol isn't down in 3 months, I should go on meds. I'm trying to figure out the risks of high cholesterol for women, and also whether it's possible to bring the "bad cholesterol" levels down by eating certain foods (rather than restricting calories/dieting). So maybe I'll check this one out, sciency writing and all ;).