Two of the authors of the recent vicious attack on JUPITER published in Archives of Internal Medicine are members of an obscure, cult-like group of cholesterol skeptics. The organization, The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS), is resolutely opposed to the cholesterol hypothesis. Members of the group consistently seeks to denigrate the beneficial effects of statins and to highlight what they perceive as serious and widely pervasive side effects (including cancer) of the drugs. The first author of the Archives paper, Michel de Lorgeril, and one of the co-authors, Harumi Okuyama, are listed as THINCS members on the organization’s website.
Comment: It would be inappropriate to dismiss the arguments in the Archives paper solely because of author affiliations. Ad hominem attacks should always be suspect. Nevertheless, the association of the authors with a group like THINCS raises some troublesome questions because, in fact, THINCS members don’t just object to one trial (JUPITER), or just one drug (rosuvastatin), or just the use of statins for primary prevention. They raise objections about ALL cholesterol-lowering trials, ALL cholesterol-lowering drugs, and the use of statins in ALL populations. They constantly harp on the dangerous side effects of statins, and exploit any bit of evidence they can find to launch their attacks, always ignoring the considerable evidence that doesn’t support their views. So the Archives paper on JUPITER is not really part of the scientific process, since the authors have no interest in the give and take of medicine and science. Their only interest is to attack, at any point, and on any basis, anything related to mainstream science about cholesterol.
To avoid any confusion, it should be noted that Sanjay Kaul, Ryan Morrissey, and George Diamond, the authors of the second Archives paper on JUPITER, are not affiliated with THINCS, and the above comments are not in any way directed at them.
If you’re interested in the topic, I strongly recommend you read a thoughtful perspective on THINCS by Harriet Hall on the Science-Based Medicine blog.
Hat tip, yet again, to the indefatigable Marilyn Mann.