July 8, 2008

Statins for Children: a Horrifying Proposal

I have been so appalled by the recent news that the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that children be put on statin drugs that I have been rendered temporarily speechless.

What part of "Statins do not prevent heart attacks in anyone but middle aged men who have already had heart attacks" don't these doctors understand?

What part of "Statins cause cognitive deficits--some of which are permanent" escaped them? "Cognitive deficits" is fancy lingo for "Makes you stupid." To give a drug that makes people stupid to an eight year old child whose brain is still developing is, simply stated, criminal. Cholesterol is used all over the brain. Lower it in the brain and that brain won't work properly. Lower it while the brain is being constructed and you have damaged a person for life.

The drug companies don't care. There are millions of fat eight year old kids out there and they are an "exciting new market." Stockholders applaud.

Obesity in children is right up there with transgendered frogs as a sign that the pollution of our environment with chemicals, plastics, and pesticides has reached the point where it is causing genetic damage. Genetic damage always shows up most clearly in offspring. To blame childhood obesity on "lifestyle" choices is absurd. Children in my youth in the 1950s ate enormous amounts of crap--ice cream every day all summer, three candy bars every time we went to the movies, pastries full of lard every day at lunch, mounds of potatoes at every meal. We did not walk miles to school every day. We rode the bus. We watched plenty of TV after our homework was done.

But in those days, if you said, "The fat boy" or "the fat girl" everyone knew who you meant because there was at most one in every class. Obesity was very rare.

The reasons why were not hard to find: We played with sheet metal toys, not ones leaching organic compounds into our skin. We drank from glass not plastic, wore clothes that had not been dosed with flame retardants, and our moms cooked our dinner on steel or aluminum pans, not cookware coated with flurine compounds (a.k.a. Teflon) that leach into our bodies and once there cannot be removed. There were not detectable amounts of estrogen and mood altering/insulin resistance-causing SSRIs in our water supply the way there are now.

Something has changed, and it is not that kids haven't been taking enough drugs. Which reminds me of the other ugly truth about what has changed with our kids--a fact that isn't getting any attention in the media. The number of kids nowadays who are on psychiatric drugs that increase insulin resistance--SSRIs and other mood and behavior changing drugs is scandalously high. Statins, in case you missed my earlier blog post also increase insulin resistance.

If your pediatrician tells you to put your kid on a statin, find a new one, and let your former pediatrician know why you left his practice. If adults want to waste their money on expensive, dangerous, largely ineffective drugs that change surrogate markers (LDL levels) without improving health, that's one thing. To foist such a drug on a child--a drug that could damage their brain for life, is something else--something that in my humble opinion constitutes child abuse.


The Old Man and His Dog said...

What the hell is wrong with this world?

I cam here to tell you how furious I was about this and you already had a blog here about it. KUDOS!

Now how do we make it stop? When I was a kid, If someone was taking a prescription drug it was very unusual and to take one for the rest of your life.....Unheard of! Now they want us to start our young children on them. I know I'm starting to sound like my grandmother now, but "What is this world coming to?" Makes me want to cry.

Scott S said...

I too was horrified by this recommendation. However, you should know that apparently the American Academy of Pediatrics is not as above the influence as we should really expect. Peter Rost, pharmacy industry blogger and author of the book "The Killer Drug" posted a compelling story claiming this decision "smacks of pharmaceutical company influence" (see http://peterrost.blogspot.com/2008/07/american-academy-of-pediatrics-hijacked.html for that posting).

He notes that NYTimes readers are not informed that Dr. Bhtia has extensive pharmaceuticalties as a consultant, speaker, and sits on several company advisory boards-and these may just influence his bald, unsubstantiated statements.

Another AAP committee member, Dr. Stephen Daniels, is quoted stating: "the new advice is based on mounting evidence showing that damage leading to heart disease, the nation's leading killer, begins early in life." AP reporter, Lindsey Tanner--but not NYT reporter, Tara Parker Pope -- informed readers that he has worked as a consultant to Abbott Laboratories and Merck& Co.

The 2008 AAP cholesterol recommendations are a crass example of how financial conflicts of interest can influence treatment recommendations by American professional medical associations.

There is little evidence that lipid-lowering guidelines are evidence-based, but it is sad when supposedly unbiased groups of doctors have conflicts of interest, but are still permitted to overturn the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) position-as reported in 2002.

The drug industry is clearly out of control, and the agencies and organizations we rely upon to look out for us aren't doing what they should be, therefore patients and particularly parents should be militant about refusal to comply such recommendations, and they need to make their decision clear to the doctors who recommend such things!

Carey said...

thank you for posting this.

Unknown said...


The other day a friend was saying how his wife's doctor will fire her if she doesn't follow his advice. That also appalls me no end. The last time I checked doctors were human beings with expensive educations, not gods. My doctor is my employee s/he is there to write prescriptions, order tests, perform procedures, make diagnoses or referrals. S/he is there to advise me and give me options. Since I'm the one that has to live with the consequences it's my decision which options I can live with. My insurance company's 'Health Coach' is always sending me material in the mail telling me what to do about my diabetes because they can't get hold of me by phone and that's on purpose. How long will it be legal to make my own decisions? How soon will the country be divided into two groups, the people on statins and the people who have no doctor or insurance because everything that isn't mandatory is illegal?
Can you see the day when your children are taken away because you won't give them a statin?

The Old Man and His Dog said...

What is this about "LOW COST" Januvia in India?


and see my blog

Jenny said...


Beats me. Januvia costs a fortune in the U.S.. And promotes cancer.

But here in the U.S. we pay more for all drugs than the rest of the world does. Let's hear it for drug industry lobbyists.

Arun.N.M. said...

Januvia in India costs one US dollar. Was interesting to read all these against Statins.I being a doctor prescribes lot of Statins.I will continue to do so in whom I feel it is essential until the guidelines change

Anonymous said...

These kids who start statins at 8 years old won't have to worry about heart disease. They will die of liver failure or cancer long before due to the statins.
charakan- if you don't believe this maybe you should change your name to quack!

Anonymous said...

Aubrey Blumsohn (Scientific Misconduct) has a good article that may help demonstrate how things have come to this pass. See http://scientific-misconduct.blogspot.com/2008/07/slip-slidin-away-scientific-integrity.html


Anonymous said...

Scary isn't it, eat up your carbs and get on your statin. You'll be right.

I guess I'm lucky in that simvastatin does exactly what it says on the tin, but I have anomalous reactions to certain other drugs and in fact I don't know many people who don't.


Add all these endocrine disruptors to a high carb high trans fat excess food in general diet and watch gene expression increase for all sorts of unpleasant conditions.

Time to re-read The Sheep Look Up


Anonymous said...

The saddest part of this whole thing is there are many parents out there who won't question these recommendations. They feel they are protecting their children. They won't investigate the data and will do whatever the doctor says. Years from now they will realize their mistake but it will be too late for their children and probably grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

It's not just cognition that's harmed, though that alone would be bad enough, but sexual development and immunity, too. Cancer risks also rise with statins.

LDL is what all of our adrenal steroid hormones are made from. Sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone are adrenal steroids.
Our bodies produce higher levels of LDL when cells are signalling that they need more of those hormones, or more cortisol or aldosterone, or other adrenal hormones so that there will be sufficient material to produce these life giving and anti inflammatory, immune modulating hormones.

High insulin levels, whether due to insulin resistance or high dietary glycemic load, lower both adrenal hormone production and cortisol binding globulin, the protein that delivers it to our cells when needed. So our bodies sense a deficiency and raise LDL to compensate, via the endocrine feedback loop. Not only xenoestrogens in our environment, but our switch to a sugar/carb laden diet has caused an epidemic of childhood type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dyslipidemia.

Statins for children is a shockingly bad idea, and anyone who doesn't think the drug companies have bought, paid for and fully own our medical system should no longer harbor any doubt. Most shameful of all is the number of academic doctors who know or should know better but are being well paid to applaud this development in media outlets.

Anyone who isn't cynical just hasn't been paying attention.

Anne said...

You can also bet a low fat diet will be recommended with or without the statin.

Anonymous said...

Childhood Obesity: Children eating way, way too much junk food. No exercise. Parents too lazy to cook homemade meals and buying processed foods on a daily basis. McDonalds & Burger King have become a daily routine and way of life. Childhood obesity will not go away until parents bring INTO the home healthy foods. A 2 and 8 year old can't grocery shop, so why are they fat?? Parents Bring home unhealthy foods and this is what you get. Most likely the parents are obese too.

Jenny said...

Children are becoming obese and diabetic so young it is not possible to explain it with the "blame the victim" argument you advance.

All the studies show it takes adults several decades to become Type 2 diabetics no matter what their lifestyle choices.

But we are seeing children developing type 2 as toddlers.

And there is a lot of research proving that you cannot make a normal toddler fat no matter what you allow them to eat. Toddlers with healthy metabolisms will eat what they need and leave the rest. In fact, most of us who have raised kids know how HARD it is to get a toddler to eat, to say nothing of overeat.

But when there is genetic damage, the normal metabolic checks on overeating are lost and eating even a normal diet will result in massive weight gain.

Blaming the victim is handy for people who want to avoid confronting the rising load of toxins in our environment and its tragic effect on our kids.

Anonymous said...


You're a good example of why doctoring is no longer an honored profession. You state you will continue to prescribe statins until the guidelines change. Isn't that a rather sheeple-like stance. Why don't you read, research, investigate and contribute to the pool of knowledge that will either prove or disprove the truth behind the statin controversy. "Oh," you say, "you're too busy . . . you'll just depend on guidelines put forth by conflicted doctors speaking as key opinion leaders for conflicted medical associations, who, in turn, rely on conflicted researchers who put money ahead of science." Good job, doc. You're an inspiration. You do your brotherhood proud!


renegadediabetic said...

Apalling. I found it interesting that the news reports mentioned the risk of diabetes., as if to imply that cholesterol is involved. I knew better, and as you pointed out in a recent post, there is no correlation between LDL & diabetes. Big pharma is trying to blame cholesterol for all ills of the world. Our children will be the next victims.

Jenny said...

Actually the relationship between statins and diabetes is a positive one. Since statins RAISE insulin resistance, they probably promote the development of diabetes by raising blood sugar which causes glucose toxicity which kills beta cells.

Since no statin manufacturer will fund research to investigate this relationship, you'll never see it in the news. But the finding that statins promote IR has been published.

Arun.N.M. said...

I am a practising clinician from a small town in India.I understand there is a controversy regarding Statins.From my situation I can only read the books and search the net for information. Most are biased but still there is no enough direct and indirect evidence to withhold Statins in whom there is a high risk of vascular events and high LDL cholestrol.