The new [cholesterol lowering] guidelines will radically increase the number of people taking cholesterol lowering drugs, said Dr John Abramson, clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, author of Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine, and one of the signatories to the petition [sent to the NIH calling for re-evaluation of the recent recommendations for treating cholesterol]. He told the BMJ: "In the one group that could benefit, men aged under 65 with multiple risk factors, you'd have to treat 238 men for one year to prevent one heart attack, and to prevent one death you'd have to treat 526 patients for one year." "While statins are clearly beneficial in certain high risk individuals," said Dr Abramson, "exercising, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking each individually appear to give more protection against heart disease, as well as the added benefit of preventing diabetes, osteoporosis, and multiple other diseases. One can't help wondering whether the ties between the authors and the statin makers contribute--consciously or unconsciously--to their focus on drugs."
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