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  • Can Your State Medical Association be Trusted? September 1, 2014
    by Lee Kurisko, MD I am embarrassed to admit that I am a member of the Minnesota Medical Association. In my defense, I am automatically a member through my employer, a large radiology group based in Minneapolis. I have long …
  • Ralph Weber Talks About Healthcare Pricing – Video August 29, 2014
    Physicians used to take any type of payment for their services, be it in cash or trade (goods). The doctor would give you a price up front. Why can’t you get prices now? Insurance companies hide the real prices so …
  • Hysteria’s History Episode01 FINAL August 29, 2014
  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers: Safe & Quality Medical Care August 27, 2014
    by Adrienne Snavely Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC) arrived on the scene in 1970. Physicians continue to own nearly 90% of such facilities. Physicians can conveniently schedule procedures, assemble their own teams of highly skilled staff, check over the equipment and …
  • Ralph Weber Talks About Transparency – Video August 25, 2014
    Prices for medical care can vary across town, across the state, and across the country. There may be no difference in a surgical technique or the training of the physician, yet the price can differ up to 20 times as …
  • Here’s The Thing #1: Transparency August 25, 2014
  • Here’s The Thing #2: Healthcare Pricing August 25, 2014
  • Here’s The Thing #3: Procedure Cost August 25, 2014
  • Save Yourself from Your Desk Job – Part II August 22, 2014
    By Sue Redmond Studies have now shown that the “couch potato” lifestyle, and even a desk job where you are sitting for long periods of time, can heighten your risk of certain diseases and even age you faster. Joan Vernikos …
  • Want to Get Lean and Fit? Don’t Do Cardio August 20, 2014
    Want to Get Lean and Fit? Then Don’t Do Traditional “Cardio” Exercise by Lee Kurisko, MD For many, this is heresy but I believe that it is true. Have you ever noticed the people frequenting the ellipticals and treadmills at …
  • The Ebola Virus: Global Threat or False Alarm? August 18, 2014
    by Adrienne Snavely The Ebola virus was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River, in what is now Congo. All 25 outbreaks of human illness or death have occurred thus far in Africa. In rural areas, people live close to …
  • Save Yourself From Your Desk Job! August 15, 2014
    by Sue Redmond Everyone knows that the couch potato “lifestyle” is unhealthy. You come home from a hard day at work and park yourself in front of the TV. Recent studies have found your desk job may be just as …
  • Thyroid Health & Testing August 13, 2014
    Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid disorders. Thyroid disorders that can affect women include: Hyperthyroidism Hypothyroidism Thyroid nodules Thyroiditis Thyroid cancer Goiter The most common disorders are hyper- and hypo-thyroidism. Symptoms of hyperthyroid Weight loss, even if …
  • Canadian Consumer Tax Index 2014 August 12, 2014
    Canadian families spend more money on taxes than on food, clothing, and shelter combined.The Fraser Institute’s Canadian Consumer Tax Index tracks the total tax bill of the average Canadian family from 1961 to 2013 by adding up the various taxes …
  • Keys to Exercise Success August 11, 2014
    by Lee Kurisko, MD I have had exercise as a regular habit for 41 years. Through all of that time, I have been analyzing what I do and trying to refine my approach always in search of a better way. …
  • MediBid in Kaiser Health News & Washington Post August 8, 2014
    Patients Seeking Cheaper Care Are Soliciting Bids From Doctors Online By SANDRA G. BOODMAN  AUG 05, 2014  This KHN story also ran in . It can be republished for free. (details) Francisco Velazco couldn’t wait any longer. For several years, the …
  • Are We Heading Towards a Two Tiered Health Care System? August 6, 2014
    In 2013, 117 insurance plans were offered on average in each state. Only 41 plans are offered in the exchanges, and in 16 states, consumers have access to 3 or fewer insurers.  In addition, these plans have increasingly restricted networks… …
  • OMTEC 2014 – Keynote Interview with Industry Leaders (Installment 2 of 5) August 5, 2014
    Original, essential content from OMTEC. Industry leaders Michael Butler, Dirk Kuyper and Mike Matson discuss the intricacies of supplier relationships within the orthopaedic industry.
  • OMTEC 2014 – Keynote Interview with Industry Leaders (Installment 1 of 5) August 5, 2014
    Original, essential content from OMTEC. Industry leaders Michael Butler, Dirk Kuyper and Mike Matson discuss the intricacies of supplier relationships within the orthopaedic industry.
  • Life Without Antibiotics Would Likely Be Grim August 4, 2014
    The first antibiotics came on the market after World War II. Bacteria continue to mutate so antibiotics cannot destroy them. Some have become so resistant that nothing is effective on them. A treatment that may have worked five years ago …

The Great Cholesterol Myth: A Book Review

by Lee Kurisko, MD

Have you ever been told by your doctor that your cholesterol is a bit high and you need to be on a statin medication to reduce it?  If so, you better read this book.   I have actually found that this book is a page-turner that I had having difficulty putting down.  Admittedly, I am a geek for this type of thing, but the message of this book should be considered by the at least 11 million people in the United States consuming these medications.

Several years ago, I too was told by my family practitioner that my cholesterol was too high and I needed to start a statin.  As an MD myself and a perpetual skeptic, I questioned the notion of poisoning one of the key biochemical pathways in my body just to make a lab test look better when I was in the peak of health and at low risk for heart disease.  My skepticism was justified and this book confirms it.

After that visit to the doctor, I read voraciously on the subject and consulted with a preventative cardiologist that I implicitly trust.  I have since learned more in the extensive cardiovascular section of my Anti-aging, Regenerative and Functional medicine fellowship program.  All tolled, I have spent innumerable hours on the topic.  If I were to do it over again, I would have read The Great Cholesterol Myth first.

Drs. Bowden and Sinatra have done a brilliant job distilling the essential points of this complex topic.  Catering to the intelligent layperson, anyone that takes the time to read this book will likely have a better grasp of the topic than their own doctors, cardiologists included.

Of late, it has been considered an unquestionable axiom that high cholesterol must be lowered with statin medications.   There is even a school of thought that people with normal cholesterol levels should be on statin meds to reduce it further.

If you read this book, you will see the madness in such claims. Cholesterol is a key component of every cell membrane in your body.  If you had no cholesterol, you would be instantly dead.  The brain is the richest repository of cholesterol and its presence is crucial for cognition and memory.  Without cholesterol, we would be sexless eunuchs incapable of reproduction.  Cholesterol is also necessary for manufacturing cortisol and related hormones required to deal with stress, maintain blood pressure, and the mineral balance of our bodies.  Cholesterol is the precursor of Vitamin D, which is essential for health.  Cholesterol is a precursor for bile, which is necessary for digestion.

The premise of the book is that the benefits of pharmaceutical suppression of cholesterol are marginal at best and only apply to a very limited segment of the population.   With limited benefit, the potential side effects are legion.

The group that may have some benefit from cholesterol meds are middle-aged males that have already had a heart attack.  According to Bowden and Sinatra there is no benefit for other groups.  Even with the potentially reduced risk of cardiovascular death for this select group, it must be kept in mind that all-cause mortality is not reduced.  That is epidemiology-speak for the fact that taking a statin will not lengthen your life by a single day!  The risk of death from cardiovascular disease may go down fractionally, but your risk of dying of other things goes up!  The cardiovascular benefit is barely measurable.  One meta-analysis showed only a 1.5 percent absolute risk reduction for a cardiac event.  Side effects are common.  I suspect that few patients would agree to consuming a medication with serious potential side effects for such a slight benefit.

Muscular weakness and pain are common side effects.  Statins even increase your risk of congestive heart failure when their purported purpose is to prevent heart disease!  Statins are now recognized to increase the risk of diabetes, and they may even increase the risk of depression and cancer!

The good Drs. Bowden and Sinatra also handily debunk the notion that saturated fat is bad for us and instead cast the blame for cardiovascular disease squarely where it belongs, on trans-fats and omega six polyunsaturated fats along with processed carbohydrates.  A recent meta-analysis of 21 studies with a total of 347,747 patients followed between five and twenty-three years showed absolutely zero correlation between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease.  That is an enormous number of patients followed over a very significant time period.  Despite this, we still hear the mantra to reduce our intake of saturated fat.

I give two thumbs way up for The Great Cholesterol Myth.   Even before reading this book, I had made the decision that I would not touch a statin med with a ten-foot pole.  That has been my decision looking at my own situation.  I do not recommend that you make any changes on your own, but if you take these meds, you better have a serious conversation with your physician.  If he or she is not familiar with these issues, tell him about this book, and if they won’t read it, get another physician.

Lee Kurisko MD is Chief Medical Officer of MediBid.  He is trained as a family physician, radiologist, and neuroradiologist. He is author of “Health Reform- The End of the American Revolution?”  He is now pursuing Board Certification in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.”   His blogposts on health and fitness can now be seen at www.healthandfitnessdoctor.com



At MediBid, we restore market forces to medical care. Doctors get to set their own rates based on their training, experience, and outcomes, and patients get to shop for medical care across state lines and international borders. Many times with MediBid, you will find procedures that are more effective than procedures allowed, or covered by health plans. Transparency and competition are the only way to achieve reasonable costs. Many of our employer clients offering group health insurance through MediBid save $5,000 per employee per year. Those are substantial savings. Patients are saving an average of 48% vs. insurance discounted rates, or 80% vs. retail. Contact us for more information.
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