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    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Cholesterol Wars: Studies that support lowering cholesterol levels to lower the risk of heart disease have so far all concentrated on the "bad cholesterol" levels, or LDL. Now, the authorities are saying they have proof that the "good cholesterol" is just as important:

    Scientists have shown for the first time that raising "good" cholesterol levels is almost as important as lowering levels of "bad" cholesterol in reducing heart-threatening plaque in arteries.

    ...."A little bit of HDL [high-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol] goes a long way. A small increase in HDL produces nearly as much of a benefit as LDL [low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol] reduction," said Dr. Steve Nissen, senior author of the study and chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. "In general, when we've found a therapy that slowed progression of disease, that translated into major clinical benefits. This makes a lot of sense."

    Dr. Nissen's research niche is threading ultrasound cameras into coronary arteries and measuring the amount of plaque build up to be found there and any changes that might occur during cholesterol drug treatment. That's the same methodology this study uses:

    For the new study, published in the Feb. 7 issue of theJournal of the American Medical Association, the researchers revisited four previously conducted studies involving 1,455 participants.

    All patients had coronary artery disease and were taking statins. They underwent two ultrasound exams 18 moths to 24 months apart to determine changes in the amount of plaque in a coronary artery.

    All four studies were sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.

    All four studies also list Dr. Nissen as the lead author. Not that there's anything wrong with that. He was able to get a new paper by looking at his old data from another perspective. What he found was that people who raised their HDL levels by 7.5% had a decrease in the size of their coronary artery plaques. However, this is the most important finding, there was "no significant differences...with regard to clinical events." His words, my bold.

    In other words, don't spend a lot of money or risk toxic side effects to try to raise that magic HDL until there's actually evidence it will do any good.

    posted by Sydney on 2/06/2007 09:06:00 PM 1 comments


    ...seems that the same overall result from all medical attempts to adjust cholestorol/LDL/HDL to politically-correct levels -- no significant difference in ultimate mortality rates...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:14 PM  

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