The raison d'etre of this website is to provide you with hard scientific information which may help you make informed decisions in your quest for health (so far I have blogged concise summaries of over 1,500 scientific studies and have had three books published).

My research is mainly focused on the effects of cholesterol, saturated fat and statin drugs on health. If you know anyone who is worried about their cholesterol levels and heart disease, or has been told to take statin drugs you could send them a link to this website, and to my statin or cholesterol or heart disease books.

David Evans

Independent Health Researcher

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Statins increase the risk of diabetes

This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2010 Mar 23;55(12):1209-16
 
Study title and authors:
Atorvastatin causes insulin resistance and increases ambient glycemia in hypercholesterolemic patients.
Koh KK, Quon MJ, Han SH, Lee Y, Kim SJ, Shin EK.
Department of Cardiology, Gachon University, Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Korea. kwangk@gilhospital.com
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20298928

This study investigated the association between statins and diabetes risk. The study was a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled parallel study that was conducted in 44 patients taking placebo and in 42, 44, 43, and 40 patients given daily atorvastatin 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg, respectively, during a two-month treatment period.

The study found:
(a) Atorvastatin at 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg daily significantly increased fasting insulin levels by 25%, 42%, 31%, and 45%, respectively.
(b) Atorvastatin at 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg daily significantly increased glycated hemoglobin levels (HbA1c levels) by 2%, 5%, 5%, and 5%, respectively.
(c) Atorvastatin at 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg daily decreased insulin sensitivity by 1%, 3%, 3%, and 4%, respectively.

Stain treatment increased fasting insulin levels, increased glycated hemoglobin levels and decreased insulin sensitivity which all indicate an increased risk of diabetes.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

High cholesterol levels decrease the risk of of a brain hemorrhage

This study was published in Stroke 2013 Mar 21
 
Study title and authors:
Risk of Rupture of an Intracranial Aneurysm Based on Patient Characteristics: A Case-Control Study.
Vlak MH, Rinkel GJ, Greebe P, Algra A.
From the Utrecht Stroke Center, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience and Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands; and Department of Neurology, Slotervaart Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23520239

This study investigated lifestyle and personal characteristics as risk factors for the rupture of brain aneurysms. (An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel that's caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall). The study included 250 patients with a rupured brain aneurysm and 206 patients with an unruptured brain aneurysm.

Regarding cholesterol levels, the study found that those with high cholesterol levels had a 60% decreased risk of of a ruptured brain aneurysm.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Statins can damage the lining of blood vessels

This study was published in Life Sciences 2013 Mar 18
 
Study title and authors:
Statin Therapy Influences Endothelial Cell Morphology and F-Actin Cytoskeleton Structure When Exposed to Static and Laminar Shear Stress Conditions.
Dick M, Jonak P, Leask RL.
Department of Chemical Engineering, McGill University, 3610 University Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2B2, Canada.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23517776

The aim of the study was to determine how statin drugs affect endothelial cell shape and F-actin cytoskeleton arrangement. (Endothelial cells are the thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, and F-actin cytoskeleton is part of the cells scaffolding or skeleton). In the study, human endothelial cells were cultured in the laboratory and were then treated with statins.

The study found:
(a) After been treated with statins the endothelial cells became rounded, which is associated with unhealthy cells in arteries prone to developing a build up of plaque.
(b) After been treated with statins the F-actin cytoskeleton structure was disorganized and fragmented which can lead to cell death.

The significance of the results of the study is that endothelial cells and F-actin cytoskeleton arrangement are advesely impacted by statin treatment which may increase the risk of arterial plaque and cell death.

Monday, 25 March 2013

High LDL cholesterol levels reduce the risk of death

This study was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine 2010 Jun;267(6):576-87
 
Study title and authors:
Gender difference of association between LDL cholesterol concentrations and mortality from coronary heart disease amongst Japanese: the Ibaraki Prefectural Health Study.
Noda H, Iso H, Irie F, Sairenchi T, Ohtaka E, Ohta H.
Public Health, Department of Social and Environmental Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Shuita-shi, Osaka, Japan.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20141564

One of the aims of the study was to investigate the relationship between low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and total death rates. The study included 30,802 men and 60,417 women, aged 40 to 79 years with no history of stroke or coronary heart disease who were followed for ten years.

The study found:
(a) Men with the highest LDL cholesterol levels (over 140 mg/dL or 3.6 mmol/L) had a 29% reduced risk of death compared to men with the lowest LDL cholesterol levels (under 80 mg/dL or 2.0 mmol/L).
(b) Women with the highest LDL cholesterol levels (over 140 mg/dL or 3.6 mmol/L) had a 36% reduced risk of death compared to women with the lowest LDL cholesterol levels (under 80 mg/dL or 2.0 mmol/L).

This ten year study of 91,219 people reveals that men and women with the highest LDL cholesterol levels have around a 30% reduced risk of death compared to men and women with the lowest LDL cholesterol levels.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Statins can impair brain functioning

This paper was published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science 2012 Apr;27(4):458-9
 
Study title and authors:
Reversible dysphasia and statins.
Davies GR.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. alienist@ihug.com.au
 
This paper can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22468114

Dysphasia is a partial or complete impairment of the ability to communicate resulting from brain injury.

This paper, authored by Dr Gordon Davies, presents a case of reversible dysphasia occurring in a patient prescribed atorvastatin.

(i) A 58-year-old woman was presented for medicolegal examination with regard to a compensation claim involving allegations of harassment at work producing anxiety and depression. At the time of her initial presentation for treatment her general practitioner had noted that her blood pressure was higher than usual and had prescribed the statin Lipitor (atorvastatin) 10 mg per day together with indapamide 2.5 mg per day.
(ii) A few days later the patient reported that she had developed problems in "word finding" in that her speech would be interrupted because she would be unable to find a word to describe an object.
(iii) The patient ceased the Lipitor and said that her symptoms had resolved quite quickly.
(iv) The patient then commenced on Crestor (rosuvastatin) 5 mg daily while continuing on indapamide and four weeks later at her medico-legal assessment she was noted to have clear but intermittent difficulty in word finding. She was also tense and tearful at times.
(v) She was reviewed two weeks later. At this point she had stopped the rosuvastatin and her speech was fluent and clear. She was continuing to take indapamide 2.5 mg per day.

This case highlights the possibility that statins can impair brain functioning. Dr Davies concludes: "The immediate inference from the above observations is that the patient had developed dysphasia as a direct side effect of the use of simvastatin. That this is likely to have been a generic statin effect is supported by the recurrence of milder symptoms on rosuvastatin and their remission on its cessation. Using the method of attribution recommended by Naranjo and colleagues, see here, it would rate at 9 (definite adverse reaction)".

Saturday, 23 March 2013

High cholesterol levels are associated with a reduced risk of cancer

This study was published in PLoS One 2013;8(1):e54242
 
Study title and authors:
Total serum cholesterol and cancer incidence in the metabolic syndrome and cancer project (me-can).
Strohmaier S, Edlinger M, Manjer J, Stocks T, Bjørge T, Borena W, Häggström C, Engeland A, Nagel G, Almquist M, Selmer R, Tretli S, Concin H, Hallmans G, Jonsson H, Stattin P, Ulmer H.
Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23372693

The objective of this study was to investigate the association between cholesterol levels and cancer incidence. The study included 289,273 male and 288,057 female participants who were followed for 11.7 years.

The study found:
(a) Men with the highest cholesterol levels had a 6% reduced risk of cancer compared with men with the lowest cholesterol levels.
(b) Men with the highest cholesterol levels had a 86% reduced risk of cancer of the liver/intrahepatic bile duct compared with men with the lowest cholesterol levels.
(c) Men with the highest cholesterol levels had a 48% reduced risk of pancreas cancer compared with men with the lowest cholesterol levels.
(d) Men with the highest cholesterol levels had a 33% reduced risk of non-melanoma skin cancer compared with men with the lowest cholesterol levels.
(e) Men with the highest cholesterol levels had a 32% reduced risk of cancers of the lymph-/hematopoietic tissue compared with men with the lowest cholesterol levels.
(f) Women with the highest cholesterol levels had a 14% reduced risk of cancer compared with women with the lowest cholesterol levels.
(g) Women with the highest cholesterol levels had a 77% reduced risk of gallbladder cancer compared with women with the lowest cholesterol levels.
(h) Women with the highest cholesterol levels had a 30% reduced risk of breast cancer compared with women with the lowest cholesterol levels.
(i) Women with the highest cholesterol levels had a 39% reduced risk of melanoma of skin cancer compared with women with the lowest cholesterol levels.
(j) Women with the highest cholesterol levels had a 39% reduced risk of cancers of the lymph-/hematopoietic tissue compared with women with the lowest cholesterol levels.

The data from the study shows that high cholesterol levels are associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

 
 
Links to other studies:



Friday, 22 March 2013

Statins are associated with impaired health status in patients fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator

This study was published in the American Journal of Cardiology 2013 Jan 26
 
Study title and authors:
Relation of Statin Therapy to Psychological Functioning in Patients With an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator.
Hoogwegt MT, Theuns DA, Kupper N, Jordaens L, Pedersen SS.
CoRPS-Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands; Department of Cardiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23360769

An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a battery-powered device placed under the skin that keeps track of your heart rate. Thin wires connect the ICD to your heart. Abnormal heart rhythms (or arrhythmias) can cause your heart to beat too quickly, too slowly or in an irregular pattern. These heart rhythms can happen suddenly and unexpectedly and sometimes people die as a result. If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected the device will deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat.

This study investigated the influence of statin therapy on the well-being and health status of patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. The study included 409 patients who completed a health survey before implantation and three, six, and 12 months after implantation of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Of the 409 patients, 60% were prescribed statins.

The study found:
(a) Statin use was associated with poorer physical functioning.
(b) Statin use was associated with poorer social functioning.
(c) Statin use was associated with worse depression.

In conclusion, statin therapy was associated with impaired health status in patients fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Low LDL cholesterol levels are associated with an elevated risk of death from liver cancer

This study was published in the Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine 2013;229(3):203-11
 
Study title and authors:
Low Serum LDL Cholesterol Levels Are Associated with Elevated Mortality from Liver Cancer in Japan: the Ibaraki Prefectural Health Study.
Saito N, Sairenchi T, Irie F, Iso H, Iimura K, Watanabe H, Muto T, Ota H.
Department of Public Health, Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23445767

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and liver cancer death rates. The study included a total of 16,217 persons (5,551 men and 10,666 women), aged 40-79 years, who were followed for 15 years. The participants were divided into four categories of LDL cholesterol levels.
(i) Less than 80 mg/dL (2.06 mmol/L).
(ii) 80-99 mg/dL (2.06-2.56 mmol/L).
(iii) 100-119 mg/dL (2.57-3.07 mmol/L).
(iv) More than 120 mg/dL (3.1 mmol/L).

The study found:
(a) Those with LDL cholesterol levels below 80 mg/dL (2.06 mmol/L) had a 333% increased risk of death from liver cancer compared to those with LDL cholesterol levels of 100-119 mg/dL (2.57-3.07 mmol/L).
(b) Those with LDL cholesterol levels of 80-99 mg/dL (2.06-2.56 mmol/L) had a 3% increased risk of death from liver cancer compared to those with LDL cholesterol levels of 100-119 mg/dL (2.57-3.07 mmol/L).
(c) Those with LDL cholesterol levels above 120 mg/dL (3.1 mmol/L) had a 57% REDUCED risk of death from liver cancer compared to those with LDL cholesterol levels of 100-119 mg/dL (2.57-3.07 mmol/L).

The researchers conclude: "Low LDL cholesterol levels are associated with elevated risk of liver cancer mortality".

 
 
Links to other studies:

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Analysis of data from randomised statin trials finds that statin users have a 13% increased risk of diabetes

This paper was published in Diabetes Care 2009 Oct;32(10):1924-9
 
Study title and authors:
Statin therapy and risk of developing type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis.
Rajpathak SN, Kumbhani DJ, Crandall J, Barzilai N, Alderman M, Ridker PM.
Department of Epidemiology and Population Health and Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, New York. srajpath@aecom.yu.edu
 
This paper can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19794004/

This paper is a meta-analysis of randomised statin trials that evaluated the effect of statin therapy on diabetes risk. The researchers conducted a systematic literature search for randomised statin trials that reported data on diabetes. They found six trials which included 57,593 patients with an average follow-up of 3.9 years during which 2,082 diabetes cases accrued.

This analysis of six randomised statin trials found that statin use was associated with a 13% increase in the incidence of diabetes.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Diets containing gluten cause gastrointestinal symptoms in non-celiacs

This study was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology 2011 Mar;106(3):508-14; quiz 515

Study title and authors:
Gluten causes gastrointestinal symptoms in subjects without celiac disease: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial.
Biesiekierski JR, Newnham ED, Irving PM, Barrett JS, Haines M, Doecke JD, Shepherd SJ, Muir JG, Gibson PR.
Monash University Department of Medicine and Gastroenterology, Box Hill Hospital, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia.

This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21224837

The aim of this study was to determine whether gluten ingestion can induce gastrointestinal symptoms in non-celiac individuals. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled rechallenge trial was undertaken in patients with irritable bowel syndrome in whom celiac disease was excluded and who were symptomatically controlled on a gluten-free diet. The study included 34 patients (aged 29-59 years) who received either (i) gluten or (ii) placebo in the form of two bread slices plus one muffin per day with a gluten-free diet for up to 6 weeks.

The study found:
(a) 28% more of the patients in the gluten group reported that their symptoms were not adequately controlled compared to the placebo group.
(b) Patients in the gluten group were significantly worse within one week for the following:
(i) Overall symptoms.
(ii) Pain.
(iii) Bloating.
(iv) Less satisfaction with stool consistency.
(v) Tiredness.

The results from the study suggests that a diet containing gluten causes gastrointestinal symptoms in non-celiacs.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Statins associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk

This study was published in Atherosclerosis 2011 Dec;219(2):728-33
 
Study title and authors:
Association of lower total bilirubin level with statin usage: the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2008.
Ong KL, Wu BJ, Cheung BM, Barter PJ, Rye KA.
Lipid Research Group, Heart Research Institute, 7 Eliza Street, Newtown, Sydney, NSW 2042, Australia. ongk@hri.org.au
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21840000

Low levels of bilirubin are associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk see here, here and here.

This study investigated the effect of statins on bilirubin levels. The study included data from 3,290 subjects with a history of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The study found that
(a) Those taking statins had lower total bilirubin levels than those not taking any cholesterol-lowering medication.
(b) Those taking lovastatin, rosuvastatin, and cerivastatin had the lowest bilirubin levels.

The data from the study shows that statins are associated with lower bilirubin levels, which is a marker for increased cardiovascular disease risk. 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Higher cholesterol levels are associated with higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin which lower the risk of heart disease

This study was published in the Journal of Nutrition 2004 Sep;134(9):2387-94
 
Study title and authors:
Correlates of serum lutein + zeaxanthin: findings from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Gruber M, Chappell R, Millen A, LaRowe T, Moeller SM, Iannaccone A, Kritchevsky SB, Mares J.
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Madison, WI, USA. mgruber@facstaff.wisc.edu
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15333733

Lutein and zeaxanthin, are two carotenoids that are concentrated in tissues of the eye and studies have suggested that people with higher levels of these carotenoids are at lower risk for common eye diseases associated with aging (age-related maculopathy and cataracts). Other studies have also shown that lutein and zeaxanthin may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly those of the breast and lung. Emerging studies suggest as well a potential contribution of lutein and zeaxanthin to the prevention of heart disease and stroke see here.

The aim of this study was to investigate health and lifestyle factors that influence levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. The study included 7,059 participants aged 40 years or older.

The study found:
(a) Those who consumed the most lutein and zeaxanthin had 77% higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin compared to those who consumed the least.
(b) Those with the highest lutein and zeaxanthin levels had 17% higher cholesterol levels compared to those with the lowest lutein and zeaxanthin levels.

The data from the study shows that high consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin and higher cholesterol levels are associated with higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin which may lower the risk of common eye diseases associated with aging and also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Women using statins for more than five years have a 27% increased risk of breast cancer

This study was published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention 2007 Mar;16(3):416-21
 
Study title and authors:
Statin use and breast cancer risk in a large population-based setting.
Boudreau DM, Yu O, Miglioretti DL, Buist DS, Heckbert SR, Daling JR.
Group Health, Center for Health Studies, Suite 1600, 1730 Minor Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101, USA. boudreau.d@ghc.org
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17372235

The objective of the study was to evaluate the relationship between statin use and breast cancer risk. The study included 92,788 women, aged 45 to 89, who were followed for 6.4 years.

The study found:
(a) Statin users had a 7.4% inceased risk of breast cancer compared to non users.
(b) A longer duration of statin use led to an increased risk of breast cancer:
(i) Statin use of three to 4.9 years was associated with a 4% increased risked of breast cancer.
(ii) Statin use of over five years was associated with a 27% increased risked of breast cancer.

The data from the study shows that statin use is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and the longer the duration of statin use - the higher the risk of breast cancer.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Professor says egg consumption may actually help guard against development of chronic diseases

This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2000 Oct;19(5 Suppl):556S-562S
 
Study title and authors:
Nutritional contribution of eggs to American diets.
Song WO, Kerver JM.
Food and Nutrition Database Research Center, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1224, USA. song@pilot.msu.edu
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11023007

Professor Won Song and her team from Michigan State University assessed the nutritional significance of eggs in the diet. The nutrient intake and egg intake was analysed from 27,378 subjects. The subjects were divided into two groups:
(i) Those who consumed eggs (egg consumers).
(ii) Those who did not consume eggs (non consumers).

The study found:
(a) The daily intake of vitamin A was 10.4% higher in egg consumers compared to non consumers.
(b) The daily intake of vitamin B6 was the same in egg consumers compared and non consumers.
(c) The daily intake of Folate was 8.1% higher in egg consumers compared to non consumers.
(d) The daily intake of vitamin B12 was 29.1% higher in egg consumers compared to non consumers.
(e) The daily intake of vitamin C was 6.7% higher in egg consumers compared to non consumers.
(f) The daily intake of vitamin E was 17.9% higher in egg consumers compared to non consumers.

Professor Song notes: "Our study shows, eggs contain many nutritionally beneficial components that would be ingested in lower amounts if eggs were reduced or eliminated from the diet" and "egg consumption may actually help guard against development of chronic diseases, rather than promote them" and concludes "Results of our study indicate that eggs make important nutritional contributions to the American diet ... and also adds to the growing body of literature which supports the nutritional benefits of eggs".

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Statins may be associated with an increase in the risk of age related macular degeneration

This study was published in Current Drug Safety 2008 Jan;3(1):24-6
 
Study title and authors:
Use of statins and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-Is) and the risk of age-related macular degeneration: nested case-control study.
Etminan M, Brophy JM, Maberley D.
Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation, Vancouver General Hospital, 7 Floor - 828 West 10 Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. metminan@shaw.ca
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18690977

Age related macular degeneration is a progressive degenerative disease affecting central vision.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) are drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

This study sought to explore the association between statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and the development of age related macular degeneration. The study included 2,867 patients, aged 65 years or older, with age related macular degeneration who were compared with 11,468 controls who were free from age related macular degeneration.

The study found:
(a) Those using statin drugs had a 30% increased risk of developing age related macular degeneration compared to those not using statins.
(b) Those using angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor drugs had a 19% increased risk of developing age related macular degeneration compared to those not using angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.

The study concludes: "Based on the results of our study, statin and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor use may be associated with an increase in the risk of age related macular degeneration".

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Egg consumption should be promoted

This studt was published in Nutrition and Metabolism 2006 Jan 6;3:6
 
Study title and authors:
Plasma LDL and HDL characteristics and carotenoid content are positively influenced by egg consumption in an elderly population.
Greene CM, Waters D, Clark RM, Contois JH, Fernandez ML.
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA. christine.greene@uconn.ed
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16398934
 
The reseachers of the study note that the habitual consumption of eggs has been shown to provide many nutritional benefits such as higher daily intakes of vitamins C, E and B12, in addition to folate. Deficiencies in these vitamins have been associated with increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, the addition of eggs to the diet could actually prevent disease development, particularly in an older age demographic who are at elevated risks for the onset of chronic diseases. Additionally, current research has shown that eggs supply a significant amount of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been linked to the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in those over the age of 60. On average, each egg yolk contains 292 μg of lutein and 213 μg of zeaxanthin, along with 0.7 mg vitamin E, 0.5 mcg vitamin B12, and 23.5 mcg folate, all in a highly bioavailable food matrix.
 
The study investigated the effects of egg consumption on cholesterol subclasses and levels of carotenoids. The study included 42 men and women, aged 50 to 80, who were assigned to either:
(i) Three eggs per day (640 mg cholesterol per day) (egg diet).
(ii) An equal volume of cholesterol-free egg substitute (0 mg cholesterol per day) (egg free diet).
 
The participants were further classified by the change in their cholesterol levels after egg consumption:
(iii) Those who had an increase in cholesterol levels of over 2.2 mg/dL (.056 mmol/L) for each additional 100 mg of dietary cholesterol were classified as hyper-responders.
(iv) Those who had an increase in cholesterol levels below 2.2 mg/dL (.056 mmol/L) for each additional 100 mg of dietary cholesterol were classified as hypo-responders.
 
The study found:
(a) Hyper-responders had higher levels of both low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol after the egg diet.
(b) After the egg diet, hyper-responders had larger less atherogenic LDL cholesterol particle size and larger healthier HDL cholesterol particle size, with no significant difference in the total number of LDL or HDL particles.
(c) Levels of LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol did not differ between the egg diet and egg free diet for the hypo-responders.
(d) Both hyper-responders and hypo-responders had an increase in lutein levels and zeaxanthin levels after the egg diet.
(e) Hyper-responders had higher levels of both lutein and zeaxanthin than hypo-responders after the egg diet.

The data from the study shows the significant increase in the larger LDL and HDL particles for hyper-responders, suggests egg consumption gives a protective effect from cardiovascular diseases. In addition, the increase in lutein and zeaxanthin levels following egg consumption may provide a valuable source of carotenoids in the diet.

The researchers conclude: "This study suggests that egg consumption may be permitted, and perhaps promoted".

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Pancreatitis induced by statins

This paper was published in the Journal of the Pancreas 2004 Nov 10;5(6):502-4

Study title and authors:
Recurrent acute pancreatitis possibly induced by atorvastatin and rosuvastatin. Is statin induced pancreatitis a class effect?
Singh S, Nautiyal A, Dolan JG.
Department of Internal Medicine, Unity Health System, Rochester, NY 14626, USA. ssingh@unityhealth.org

This paper can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15536291

This paper reports the case of a woman who developed pancreatitis after treatment with statins.

(i) A 77-year-old female was presented to a medical facility with abdominal discomfort, nausea and vomiting for the past few days.
(ii) She had recently been started on rosuvastatin (Crestor) and her dose increased from 10 to 20 mg daily.
(iii) Statin induced pancreatitis was diagnosed and the patient improved with discontinuation of rosuvastatin.
(iv) Her medical history revealed that she had a similar episode of pancreatitis precipitated by atorvastatin (Lipitor) a year ago. A pimply rash and skin inflammation accompanied that episode.
(v) She was advised to avoid all statins in the future.

The study leader, Dr Sonal Singh, concludes that the occurrence of pancreatitis with two different statins in the patient argues that statins induced pancreatitis may be a class-effect of statins (side-effect of all statins).

Monday, 11 March 2013

Professor concludes that egg consumption is an effective method to increase macular pigment

This study was published in the Journal of Nutrition 2006 Oct;136(10):2568-73

Study title and authors:
A 12-wk egg intervention increases serum zeaxanthin and macular pigment optical density in women.
Wenzel AJ, Gerweck C, Barbato D, Nicolosi RJ, Handelman GJ, Curran-Celentano J.
Psychology Department, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA. awenzel@unnh.edu

This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16988128

This study was cancucted by professor Adam Wensel from the University of New Hampshire. Wenzel states eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods regularly consumed in the human diet. In addition to several essential vitamins and minerals, eggs contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are collectively called macular pigment and higher levels are associated with improved eye health.

The objective of the study was to determine whether increased consumption of eggs would increase levels of lutein, zeaxanthin and macular pigment. The study lasted for 12 weeks and included 24 women, aged between 24 and 59, who were told to continue with their normal diet and additionally were also assigned into groups to consume the following:
(i) A sugar filled pill per day (pill group).
(ii) Six supermarket eggs per week (supermarket egg group).
(iii) Six organic eggs per week (organic egg group).

The study found:
(a) Levels of lutein decreased by 9.5% in the pill group.
(b) Levels of zeaxanthin decreased by ~17% in the pill group.
(c) Levels of macular pigment remained about the same in the pill group.
(d) Levels of lutein increased by 22.6% in the supermarket egg group.
(e) Levels of zeaxanthin increased by ~47% in the supermarket egg group.
(f) Levels of macular pigment increased by ~50% in the supermarket egg group.
(g) Levels of lutein increased by 26.1% in the organic egg group.
(h) Levels of zeaxanthin increased by ~79% in the organic egg group.
(i) Levels of macular pigment increased by ~14% in the organic egg group.

Professor Wenzel concludes that the bioavailability of the carotenoids; lutein and zeaxanthin is high in egg yolks, and that egg consumption is an effective method to increase macular pigment. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Paranoia may be an adverse effect due to statin therapy

This paper was published in the American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy 2008 Mar;6(1):28-32
 
Study title and authors:
Behavioral changes with paranoia in an elderly woman taking atorvastatin.
Peters JT, Garwood CL, Lepczyk M.
Department of Pharmacy Practice, Wayne State University, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.
 
This paper can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18396246

This paper reports of behavioral changes in a patient taking atorvastatin.

(i) A 79-year-old woman developed paranoia, anxiety, and behavioral changes approximately 2.5 weeks after starting atorvastatin at 10 mg per day.
(ii) After two months of therapy, the patient discontinued atorvastatin, and her symptoms fully resolved after four days.

This report emphasizes the possibility of paranoia as a central nervous system adverse effect due to statin therapy.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Egg yolk is a highly bioavailable source of lutein and zeaxanthin

This study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999 Aug;70(2):247-51
 
Study title and authors:
Lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in plasma after dietary supplementation with egg yolk.
Handelman GJ, Nightingale ZD, Lichtenstein AH, Schaefer EJ, Blumberg JB.
Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA. Handelman_lp@hnrc.tufts.edu
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10426702

The lead researcher of the study, Dr Garry Handelman from Tufts University Boston, notes that lutein and zeaxanthin have been identified as carotenoids that accumulate in the macular region of the human retina that may play a role in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration and some forms of cancer.

The study sought to determine whether levels of lutein and zeaxanthin are elevated after consumption of egg yolks. The study included 11 men and women who firstly consumed diets without any egg yolks for 4.5 weeks, and secondly consumed similar diets with the addition of 1.3 egg yolks per day for another 4.5 weeks.

The study found:
(i) The diets containing egg yolks raised levels of lutein by 39% compared to the diets containing no egg yolks.
(ii) The diets containing egg yolks raised levels of zeaxanthin by 128% compared to the diets containing no egg yolks.

Dr Handelman concluded: "Egg yolk is a highly bioavailable source of lutein and zeaxanthin".

Friday, 8 March 2013

Statins may be associated with skin lesions

This paper was published in the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 2010 Sep-Oct;14(5):207-11
 
Study title and authors:
Statins and "chameleon-like" cutaneous eruptions: simvastatin-induced acral cutaneous vesiculobullous and pustular eruption in a 70-year-old man.
Adams AE, Bobrove AM, Gilliam AC.
Department of Dermatology and Rheumatology, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Group, Palo Alto, CA, USA.
 
This paper can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20868617

Adams notes that statins are associated with many types of cutaneous eruptions (skin lesions and rashes) such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermolytic necrolysis, porphyria cutanea tarda, linear IgA bullous dermatosis, and reaction patterns (lupus and dermatomyositis-like and pustular).

The paper presents the case of a man covered with skin lesions after taking simvastatin (zocor) drugs.

(i) A 70 year old man was prescribed simvastatin and began to suffer with chronic vesiculobullous, see here, and pustular annular lesions, see here, on his arms, legs, hands, and feet.
(ii) After two years the man stopped taking simvastatin and his condition improved.
(iii) He later restarted simvastatin and the lesions recurred.
(iv) He eventually discontinued simvastatin and the lesions cleared.

This case provides evidence that statins may be associated with skin lesions.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Lutein bioavailability from eggs are higher than that from other sources such as supplements and spinach

This study was published in the Journal of Nutrition 2004 Aug;134(8):1887-93
 
Study title and authors:
Lutein bioavailability is higher from lutein-enriched eggs than from supplements and spinach in men.
Chung HY, Rasmussen HM, Johnson EJ.
Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15284371

Chung notes that lutein may be protective against diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.

This study investigated the bioavailability from four sources; (i) lutein supplement, (ii) lutein ester supplement, (iii) spinach, (iv) eggs. The study included ten men who were administered one of the four lutein doses for nine days.

The study found:
(a) Lutein levels rose by 323.4% in the egg consumers.
(b) Lutein levels rose by 140.1% in the spinach consumers.
(c) Lutein levels rose by 82.1% in the lutein supplement consumers.
(d) Lutein levels rose by 81.9% in the lutein ester supplement consumers.

The researchers concluded that lutein bioavailability from eggs are significantly higher than that from other sources such as lutein, lutein ester supplements, and spinach: And that eggs may decrease the risk of certain diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Clinicians should be aware of possible adverse cognitive reactions during statin therapy

This paper was published in Pharmacotherapy 2006 Aug;26(8):1190-2
 
Study title and authors:
Short-term memory loss associated with rosuvastatin.
Galatti L, Polimeni G, Salvo F, Romani M, Sessa A, Spina E.
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and Pharmacology, Section of Pharmacology, University of Messina, Messina, Italy. lgalatti@unime.it
 
This paper can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16863497

This paper reports the case of rosuvastatin-related short-term memory loss.

(i) A 53-year-old man experienced memory loss after being treated with rosuvastatin at 10 mg per day.
(ii) After discontinuation of rosuvastatin, the neuropsychiatric adverse reaction resolved gradually, suggesting a probable drug association.
(iii) During the following year, the patient remained free from neuropsychiatric disturbances.

The lead researcher of the paper, Dr Laura Galatti, concludes that clinicians should be aware of possible adverse cognitive reactions during statin therapy.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Consuming eggs significantly increases levels of lutein and zeaxanthin

This study was published in the Journal of Nutrition 2006 Oct;136(10):2519-24
 
Study title and authors:
Consumption of one egg per day increases serum lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in older adults without altering serum lipid and lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations.
Goodrow EF, Wilson TA, Houde SC, Vishwanathan R, Scollin PA, Handelman G, Nicolosi RJ.
Center for Health and Disease Research, Department of Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences, University of Massachusetts Lowell, MA 01854, USA.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16988120

The lead author of the study, Elizabeth Goodrow, notes that lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in the macular pigment of the retina, and are reported to be associated with a reduced incidence of age-related macular degeneration. A rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin in the American diet is the yolk of chicken eggs.

The objective of the study was to investigate the effect of egg consumption on the levels of lutein, zeaxanthin and cholesterol in individuals over 60 years of age. The study included 33 men and women who consumed one egg per day for five weeks.

The study found:
(a) Levels of lutein increased by 26% after five weeks of consuming one egg per day.
(b) Levels of zeaxanthin increased by 38% after five weeks of consuming one egg per day.
(c) Cholesterol levels were not affected throughout the study.

The findings of the study show that consuming one egg per day significantly increases levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Myasthenic weakness is a potential adverse effect of statins

This paper was published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 2011 Feb;94(2):256-8
 
Study title and authors:
Statin-associated myasthenic weakness.
Pasutharnchat N, Phanthumchinda K.
Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. nathpasu@hotmail.com
 
This paper can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21534375

This paper reports of a woman who developed bulbar myasthenia gravis (facial weakness, difficulties in chewing, swallowing, articulation, and breathing, and weakness of the neck muscles) a few weeks after starting statin treatment.

(i) A 50-year-old woman with generalized, limb predominated, myasthenia gravis, whose myasthenia gravis status has been "minimal manifestation" for several years, developed moderately severe fluctuating bulbar myasthenia gravis weakness a few weeks after starting simvastatin of 20 mg per day.
(ii) Simvastatin was discontinued and the symptoms resolved and she was back to her previous status in one month.
(iii) She again started simvastatin, this time at 10 mg per day, and within two weeks bulbar weakness re-occurred.
(iv) The symptoms were again resolved after discontinuation of the statin and she was back to her previous status in two months.

This paper demonstrates that myasthenic weakness is a potential adverse effect of statins. 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Egg yolk consumption is associated with a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration

This study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009 Nov;90(5):1272-9

Study title and authors:
Consumption of 2 and 4 egg yolks/d for 5 wk increases macular pigment concentrations in older adults with low macular pigment taking cholesterol-lowering statins.
Vishwanathan R, Goodrow-Kotyla EF, Wooten BR, Wilson TA, Nicolosi RJ.
Department of Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences, Center for Health and Disease Research, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854-5125, USA.

This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19759170

The carotenoids of the macular pigment, lutein and zeaxanthin, may reduce the risk of dry, age-related macular degeneration, see here, and light induced retinal damage.

Macular pigment optical density is the thickness or density of the macular pigment. Research has shown that a low macular pigment optical density is a key risk factor for age-related macular degeneration, see here, while a high macular pigment optical density not only reduces one’s risk for but also helps to improve visual performance.

Low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration see here.

The study evaluated the levels of lutein, zeaxanthin, macular pigment optical density and HDL cholesterol in 52 adults, aged 60 and over, after the consumption for five weeks of either (i) two egg yolks per day (ii) four egg yolks per day. 

The study found:
(a) Lutein levels increased by 15.4% after consumption of two egg yolks per day, and increased by 28.4% after consumption of four egg yolks per day.
(b) Zeaxanthin levels increased by 36.3% after consumption of two egg yolks per day, and increased by 81.8% after consumption of four egg yolks per day.
(c) Macular pigment optical density levels increased by 3.9% after consumption of two egg yolks per day, and increased by 24.4% after consumption of four egg yolks per day.
(d) High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels increased by 5.4% after consumption of both two and four egg yolks per day.

The results from the study suggest that egg yolk consumption is associated with a decreased risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Medical records show that statins are associated with a 14% increased risk of type two diabetes

This study was published in Diabetes Care 2012 Dec 17

Study title and authors:
Statins and Risk of Diabetes: An analysis of electronic medical records to evaluate possible bias due to differential survival.
Danaei G, Rodríguez LA, Cantero OF, Hernán MA.
Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23248196

This study investigated the relationship between statins and type two diabetes. Data was drawn from the medical records of 285,864 men and women aged 50-84 years who were followed for ten years.

The study found that statin therapy was associated with a 14% increased risk of type two diabetes.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Eggs may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes by increasing the levels of lutein and zeaxanthin

This study was published in Food and Function 2013 Jan 31;4(2):213-21
 
Study title and authors:
Egg intake improves carotenoid status by increasing plasma HDL cholesterol in adults with metabolic syndrome.
Blesso CN, Andersen CJ, Bolling BW, Fernandez ML.
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA. maria-luz.fernandez@uconn.edu.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23128450

The lead researcher of the study, Christopher Blesso from the University of Connecticut, notes that
metabolic syndrome is associated with reductions in levels of the carotenoids; lutein and zeaxanthin.

The objective of this study was to compare the effects of eggs (including the yolk) with yolk-free egg substitute on carotenoid levels in participants with metabolic syndrome. The study included 37 patients who consumed as part of a carbohydrate-restricted diet for 12 weeks either:
(i) Three whole eggs per day (yolk group).
(ii) The equivalent amount of yolk-free egg substitute (yolk free group).

The study found:
(a) The yolk group had significant increases in levels of lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, while the yolk-free group had increases in levels of beta-carotene only.
(b) In the yolk group, levels of lutein and zeaxanthin were significantly increased in high density lipoprotein cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol.

In patients with metabolic syndrome, egg yolks may represent an important food source to improve their carotenoid levels and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes.