The Arrow #100
Greetings from Dallas.
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First, as they say at the start of every medical conference I’ve ever attended, a bit of housekeeping… Since I hit send on last week’s Arrow, I’ve been working feverishly to get this Substack post to look the way I want it to look, and I’ve failed miserably. I wrote a long email to the Substack help desk with screenshots and a detailed description of the formatting issues I have been trying to deal with.
I didn’t hear anything back.
Update: I just heard back from Nina’s contact person (see below) moments ago. Should be all fixed. I won’t know for sure, though, till I send it out.
I emailed my friend Nina Teicholz, whose Substack is formatted much in the way I want mine to be, asking her if she could shed some light on my problem. She responded that she set hers up without much of a hitch. She then gave me the name of a real person at Substack, with whom she had corresponded. I emailed this lady laying out all my fruitless formatting efforts. She emailed back telling me they found a glitch in their system. They’re working on it, and she would get back to me when they got it fixed. So, it wasn’t my incompetence, after all.
BTW, if you aren’t reading Nina’s excellent Substack called Unsettled Science, you should be. I read every issue.
Yet another note: Just got the above message:
I don’t know if the email version will be truncated or not. If so, simply click view online, and you should get the entire thing.
We’re glad to be back in Dallas. It was kind of a disastrous trip to Fayetteville for the Thanksgiving holiday. First, the weather sucked. Our middle son and I had planned to play some golf, which we managed to do on Wednesday. But it was cold, windy, and started to rain. We planned to play Saturday, but it rained all day. Plus half the people there were sick.
On Thanksgiving day the entire troop planned to have the big meal at our DIL’s sister’s new house. One branch of our immediate family woke up TG morning with a sick kid, so they elected not to go. The rest of us went, only to discover that our DIL’s sister was sick as was her spouse. We had the dinner, which couldn’t be beat, and watched the Cowboys stomp the Giants, which is always fun. The next day, the DIL’s sister and spouse tested positive for both the flu and strep. And the branch of the fam who stayed put because of a sick kid, all woke up sick. They got tested and three of the four were positive for type A flu. The only one who tested negative was our son, which I took as a stroke of luck as we were planning on playing golf the next day. Which, as I noted above, got rained out.
Fortunately, despite being around all this sickness, MD and I escaped unscathed. We just hung out in our son’s spare apartment, read, trolled the internet, and ate leftovers. One good thing did come of my forced confinement. I read The Great Gatsby for the first time. I have a good friend who is a great F. Scott Fitzgerald fan. During an email exchange a few weeks ago, he sent me a quote I didn’t recognize. When I couldn’t tell him where it came from, he told me it was the last line of The Great Gatsby. When I told him I had never read the book, he was mortified. Two days later, the Norton Critical Edition of TGG showed up in my mailbox.
It wasn’t what I expected. I had neither read the book, nor seen any of the movies, so I didn’t really know the story. Now I do. If you haven’t read it, I would highly recommend it. 2022 has been a good year for me in terms of catching up on my reading of the classics. I polished off War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and now The Great Gatsby. Much though I enjoyed Gatsby, in my view, it’s not in the same category as W&P or AK. Strangely, this just came into my mailbox today. Apparently, Gatsby wasn’t a big hit until WWII made it one.
So, other than reading TGG, having a terrific Thanksgiving dinner, featuring a turkey cooked sous vide (there is really no other way to go with turkey), and hanging out with kids and grandkids, the holiday was kind of a bust on account of illness and bad weather. But there was more bad news to come.
MD and I left to drive back to Dallas, but we took a different route than normal. Our youngest son and his family were visiting his wife’s parents in Oklahoma. They were heading back to Little Rock, so we planned a rendezvous with them in Broken Bow, OK, which was on their way back and a bit out of the way for us. MD has made needlepoint Christmas stockings for every member of our family, including all the wives and grandchildren—15 in all so far. Our youngest grandchild Robert—aka Robbie—was born last April, so MD cranked out a stocking for him. It takes her hours and hours over months to make these, so she didn’t want to risk sending it by any public conveyance, thus we met up to transfer the stocking. MD and I are planning to be in California for Christmas this year, so she needed to make sure Robbie’s parents had the stocking for the big day. Here is a photo of it along with a photo of multiple stockings. You can see her early, more primitive effort [from about 1984 when she made the first ones] with middle son Danny’s stocking on the left of the bottom photo. As time went on, her needlepoint skills sharpened, as you can see as they go from left to right.
So, off we went to Broken Bow in our Toyota Rav 4. I’ve criss crossed Oklahoma countless times in all directions. North to south and east to west. And, in my opinion, I’d always thought the entire state was ugly as a rat. But I had never been to southeast Oklahoma, which abuts Arkansas and is much like it. Rolling hills and bluffs, giant green meadows. Trees turning colors. It’s gorgeous, so I’ve had to recalibrate my opinion of Oklahoma and natural beauty.
We didn’t leave Fayetteville until about noon, which meant I had on board an entire morning’s worth of coffee consumption. And, to top it off, I took a cup for the road. About an hour into the trip, I had to you-know-what like a racehorse. My bladder was about to burst. I had no idea where we were, which is why I hate traveling anywhere without an actual map and relying only on Waze. But there we were in the middle of all this great scenery, and I could think of only one thing.
I came to a pullout on the winding road we were driving. Pulled over. Leapt over the little guardrail, ran down the hill into the woods, and did my thing. Came back up, got in the car much relieved, and continued the trip. We arrived, sat in the car waiting for the Little Rock fam to show up, which they did in short order. Hugs all around then we all headed for the restaurant for a bite and transfer of the stocking. I went to lock the car and discovered my keys were missing. I always slip them over my belt—the house keys hanging down on one side, the car fob on the other. MD remembers seeing them as I came up the hill from my little stop on the road. They must have fallen off as I was getting in the car or leaping over the guard rail.
Got back to Dallas and called the Toyota dealership, only to learn that a new fob costs $230 and another $150 to program it to our car. It was an expensive rest stop, that’s for sure. Since we’re heading to CA for a month in a week or so, I’ve elected to rely on the kindness of any stranger who finds the keys to turn them in somewhere and hope they make it back to me. Otherwise I’m out $380 when I get back. And that’s not to mention the other four or five keys I need to get remade. An expensive comfort stop.
Okay, enough about me.
But first, one other Thanksgiving note…
It seems I’m always a day late and a dollar short. When we got back to the apartment after the Thanksgiving dinner to check on the sick fam, I fired up my laptop and came across this photo of a pumpkin pie someone had posted.
There was, of course, a pumpkin pie at our Thanksgiving dinner. Of which I can tell you I took not one bite. Not because I’m Mikey the Good, but because I don’t like pumpkin pie. But had I had the creativity to come up with the pie above, I would have loved to have taken it to the dinner. I don’t know the vaccination status of all those there—our own immediate family are unvaccinated, but I don’t know about the others. Could have made for a lively discussion.
Speaking of a lively discussion…
Fauci Deposed Last Wednesday
Yep, the Fauch sat for a seven hour deposition and couldn’t remember much of anything.
I’m hoping most of you who read this have never had a close encounter with the legal system. Unfortunately, I have. And have sat for multiple depositions. Some as an expert witness in medical malpractice cases and others I’ve been dragged into thanks to being involved in businesses that were suing or being sued.
Depositions are not fun.
You are under oath with a court reporter taking down everything you say (actually, they used to do it via shorthand or with a stenograph machine, but now I expect they use digital recording). The attorney questioning you can ask just about anything. And he/she typically does. They ask in an open-ended question format with the intention of getting you to gibber on about whatever the question is. You’ve got to listen to the question carefully and make sure you answer the specific question. If you’re smart, you say the minimum. For example, if you’re asked: “Can you tell me the time?” Your answer should be “Yes.” Or “No,” depending on whether or not you have a watch. The question was not “What time is it?”
Attorneys love to ask such questions as, “Tell me about what happened on [insert day and date]. Which, of course, will be the day something germane to the lawsuit happened. Most people know that particular day is important, so they begin rambling on about it. The smart deponent says, “That question is too broad. What specifically do you want to know about that day?”
It’s kind of fun, because it makes the opposing attorney have to work, which they don’t like to do. They then have to refine the question to more specifics. If they ask about the afternoon in question, that’s still too broad. You can keep going until you get them to cone down to the real issue they want to know about. “Did you or did you not have a meeting with Tom Smith on January 22, 2022?” Then you say, “Yes.” Assuming you did have the meeting. Then the attorney will ask you “What did you discuss at that meeting?” Your answer should be, “We discussed a lot of things at that meeting. What are you specifically interested in?”
You get the picture. You don’t want to try to justify or explain anything unless asked specifically about it.
If you don’t recall something specifically, then you say, “I don’t recall.” Don’t try to remember and say something that turns out to be false because memory is fallible. If you don’t remember clearly, say so. Because if you say it in the deposition, then you’ll be confronted with it in court. If you try to change your testimony, then you’ll be deemed a liar. There is a legal dictum that says in Latin Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which translates to If you lie about one thing, you’ll lie about everything.
So, if you get caught in a lie, the opposing attorneys will try to discredit everything you say. They’ll tell the jury, This person can’t be believed. We proved he/she obviously lied about such and such, so nothing he/she says can be considered reliable.
If you’re not sure, say “I don’t recall.” Later on, once you know what they’re after, you can check your records. Then if asked at trial, you can honestly say, I wasn’t expecting that question at the deposition and I didn’t remember exactly. I didn’t want to misstate, so I told the lawyer I couldn’t recall. But now that I’ve had time to go back and think about it and review my records, I can say truthfully that this or that happened.
In Fauci’s case, it sounds like he was trying to avoid answering questions he didn’t want to answer under oath. You can do the old I can’t recall, but it will catch up to you in trial if you’ve said it to avoid having to answer tough questions truthfully.
Jeff Childers described in his column yesterday how he deals with folks who use the ‘I don’t recall’ answer in depositions. I can tell you, I’ve never had a lawyer deal with me this way when I’ve said I don’t recall. Which I’ve never said unless I didn’t really remember clearly.
Haha, the old bad memory gambit. As I’ve mentioned before, I love taking depositions, it’s one of my favorite parts of the job. I don’t mind the “I can’t remember” answer at all, especially given that you’ll never get a dishonest witness to admit the truth anyway. It’s so simple to handle this type of answer. Let me show you how it plays out.
For example, if I asked Fauci, “did you discuss with Twitter banning any scientists’ accounts?” And he answered, “I can’t recall everything I talked to Twitter about.” Then, one option would be for me to ask, “so, it’s possible you DID talk about banning scientists?” But then he might just answer, “I wouldn’t want to speculate about that.”
A better option if the witness says they “can’t recall” is to then ask, “since you don’t remember whether it happened, you can’t contradict another witness who says it did happen, can you?” Depending on the topic, I might also ask, “you agree that you can’t testify about that subject at trial, since you don’t remember, correct?”
Once you elicit the only possible answers to those questions, you have neutralized the witness as any kind of threat at trial, and can control the flow of evidence in your favor.
So, not only does saying “I can’t recall” make you look dumb, as it did here, it also hurts your case.
When this case comes to trial, which I’m hoping it does, Fauci will be in a pickle. I’m just hoping that the attorney’s general of these two states, both of whom are politicians, hired skilled attorneys to handle the depositions and the upcoming trial. I fear if they do it themselves, grandstanding all the way, the outcome may well be dismal.
This just in:
Finally, speaking of masks, a brand new study just out today shows that N95 masks prove to be no better than standard surgical masks in preventing Covid. And we’ve known forever that surgical masks aren’t worth squat.
Come Say Hi at the LowCarbUSA Conf in Boca
It’s going to be a great conference. Yours truly is speaking. MD and I would love to meet you in the flesh. Come on by. Click here for more info.
Sad Case of a Vaccine-related Death
Trial Site News published a case of a death doubtless due to vaccine injury that is not only sad, but provides many lessons about the whole Covid and Covid vaccine fiasco. The patient was from Dresden, Germany.
Here is the medical history from the published paper Trial Site News reviewed. I’ve broken it up—in the paper, it is one long run of text—for easier understanding and so I can insert my own comments in brackets.
This report presents the case of a 76-year-old male with a history of Parkinson’s disease (PD) who passed away three weeks after his third COVID-19 vaccination. On the day of his first vaccination in May 2021 (ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vector vaccine) [AstraZeneca], he experienced pronounced cardiovascular side effects, for which he repeatedly had to consult his doctor.
After the second vaccination in July 2021 (BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine/Comirnaty)[Pfizer], the family noted obvious behavioral and psychological changes (e.g., he did not want to be touched anymore and experienced increased anxiety, lethargy, and social withdrawal even from close family members). [One wonders after all the issues with the first vaccine why this man would sign up for a second.]
Furthermore, there was a striking worsening of his PD symptoms, which led to severe motor impairment and a recurrent need for wheelchair support. He never fully recovered from these side effects after the first two vaccinations but still got another vaccination in December 2021. [My bold. Jesus wept.]
Two weeks after the third vaccination (second vaccination with BNT162b2)[Pfizer], he suddenly collapsed while taking his dinner. Remarkably, he did not show coughing or any signs of food aspiration but just fell down silently. He recovered from this more or less, but one week later, he again suddenly collapsed silently while taking his meal. [My bold]
The emergency unit was called, and after successful, but prolonged resuscitation attempts (over one hour), he was transferred to the hospital and directly put into an artificial coma but died shortly thereafter. The clinical diagnosis was death due to aspiration pneumonia. According to his family, there was no history of a clinical or laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 in the past. [My bold]
It is obvious the family wondered what in the heck was going on here as they requested an autopsy, which proved to be most enlightening.
I read the entire autopsy report looking for any co-morbidities in this gentleman other than his Parkinson’s disease that would drive him (or his family; it’s unclear who was in charge here) to submit to two additional vaccines after his adverse reaction to the first. His heart muscle showed some signs of chronic hypertension (high blood pressure), but it wasn’t listed in his history. He had some minimal kidney damage, but the pathologist didn’t describe it as due to diabetes and diabetes was not listed in his history. He was about 5 ft 9 inches tall and weighed 132 pounds, so he certainly wasn’t obese. As far as I know, Parkinson’s disease is not a major risk factor for Covid.
When I read the clinical history above, I found in difficult to believe anyone would volunteer for not just one, but two more vaccines given what happened after the first. In reading on through the report, I discovered that the pathologist wondered that same thing.
The clinical history of the current case showed some remarkable events in correlation to his COVID-19 vaccinations. Already on the day of his first vaccination in May 2021 (ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vector vaccine), he experienced cardiovascular symptoms, which needed medical care and from which he recovered only slowly. After the second vaccination in July 2021 (BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine), the family recognized remarkable behavioral and psychological changes and a sudden onset of marked progression of his PD symptoms, which led to severe motor impairment and recurrent need for wheelchair support. He never fully recovered from this but still was again vaccinated in December 2021. Two weeks after this third vaccination (second vaccination with BNT162b2), he suddenly collapsed while taking his dinner. Remarkably, he did not show any coughing or other signs of food aspiration but just fell from his chair. This raises the question of whether this sudden collapse was really due to aspiration pneumonia. [My bold]
As you can see, the pathologist marveled that this man continued to get vaccinated repeatedly after his horrible reaction to the first one.
The results of the autopsy were that the pathologist found minimal signs that would lead him to believe this man died from aspiration pneumonia, which was the clinical diagnosis, i.e., the diagnosis made by the doctors who took care of him during his last days.
The main findings as related to the cause of death were mild myocarditis and necrotizing encephalopathy.
Here is a graphic of a slide showing a thin slice of heart tissue:
The red arrow points to an accumulation of spike protein in the cells lining the capillaries in the heart. There was no history of active Covid infection in this patient and no evidence of nucleocapsid protein, which means these spike proteins could have come only from the vaccines. But remember, as reported by Pfizer and other vaccine manufacturers, the spike protein was never supposed to travel much beyond the muscle near the injection site. Clearly, at least in the case of this man, that wasn’t the case.
Here is a slide of brain tissue showing much the same pathology:
The red arrow points to an accumulation of spike protein showing acute infection in the wall of the capillaries in the brain. The blue arrow shows spike protein around a glial cell. Glial cells are sort of the glue that holds the brain together, but also act as functional modulators and immune cells. Since there were no accompanying nucleocapsid proteins as there would be were this condition due to an active Covid infection, the pathologist determined these spike proteins to have come from the vaccines.
If you read the pathologist’s discussion, he goes through all the various problems that might have brought about this man’s death, but, in the end, pretty much concludes it was caused by the inflammation incurred due to the mRNA vaccine and the spike protein it induced.
Numerous cases of encephalitis and encephalomyelitis have been reported in connection with the gene-based COVID-19 vaccines, with many being considered causally related to vaccination. However, this is the first report to demonstrate the presence of the spike protein within the encephalitic lesions and to attribute it to vaccination rather than infection. These findings corroborate a causative role of the gene-based COVID-19 vaccines, and this diagnostic approach is relevant to potentially vaccine-induced damage to other organs as well.
I find this case report to be both sad and interesting. Sad because this man would probably still be with us had he not taken three vaccines. Given his lack of co-morbidities, he would probably have survived Covid had he gotten it. It’s also sad in that the family obviously found something amiss in the treatment by the doctors in charge of his care and their diagnosis of his cause of death. If they hadn’t felt something was wrong, I doubt they would have requested an autopsy.
It is interesting in that I learned there is now serology to determine the presence, or absence in this case, of the nucleocapsid protein. In days to come, we might find that those of us who had never been vaccinated have valuable blood and don’t shed SARS-CoV-2. But how to prove you’re unvaccinated? It’s easy to prove you have had the jab. Just show your vaccine card. Now those of us who have not been vaccinated and have had Covid can be shown to have a reaction to the nucleocapsid, which proves an active Covid infection in the past. I’m not sure what the case would be if a vaccinated person ended up with Covid, which they are now doing by the millions. The last paper I saw on that showed that only 43 percent of those who had been vaccinated were positive for the nucleocapsid protein antibodies.
It is also an interesting case because it is clear this man died as a consequence of the vaccines. Had the family not requested an autopsy, his death would have been recorded as due to aspiration pneumonia. I suspect this is not unusual. It adds to the excess death statistics, but not to vaccine accident statistics.
Excess Deaths Rise While Birth Rates Decline
It’s been pretty apparent for a while that excess deaths are on the rise. The public health services of other countries that have vastly lower budgets than does the US CDC are able to provide these statistics in an easy to understand form. Not so the CDC. They are chronically behind and more often than not their statistics are impenetrable. Whether this is due to incompetence or a more sinister reason, I have no way of knowing. But I can say that given the multi-billion dollar budget, it should be more user friendly.
Here is the link to a demographics research group that is working to gather all these statistics under one umbrella so excess death stats will be easier to find and understand. According to statistician William Briggs, excess death stats are meaningless unless you know how they’re calculated. This group uses several methods and publishes them all along with a clear description of their methodology. Below are a few graphics looking at the excess deaths in the UK.
From the data, it’s pretty clear that excess deaths are up in the UK. The last graphic gave me some pause, because at first I couldn’t interpret what they meant by Cumulative Vax doses for the given years. The cumulative doses should increase, not have a rounded curve. Then I realized these were for each age group. Then I noticed the percentages on the right Y-axis. How could it be over 100 percent? It finally dawned on me that the numbers represented cumulative doses and many people got more than one shot.
The implication from these and other graphics you can find on this site is that the vaccines are the cause of the increase in excess deaths. But we don’t know that for sure. It could be the vaccines, or it could be delayed results from the lockdowns, or it could be something else. We don’t know. We just know more people are dying than should be dying.
Alex Berenson posted some data a few days ago that gives credence to the idea that the excess deaths in the UK may be vaccine related. You can find the source in the link above. The data indicate that in those under 60 there are double the number of deaths in the vaccinated as compared to the unvaccinated.
Along with the excess death rate being elevated, there are many fewer babies being born. Take a look at the graphic below from Trial Site News showing what happened to the birth rate in Switzerland after mass vaccinations.
It is pretty clear when this decline in births began. What we don’t know is how long it’s going to last. We do know that vaccine material ends up in pretty high concentrations in the ovaries. Does it hang around forever? No one knows at this point. But this is indeed a sobering picture.
Cholesterol, Cholesterol, Cholesterol…
I get emails all the time from people wondering about this or that cholesterol level. Here’s an example:
Could I suggest you write about your views about the advanced cholesterol tests like apoB, apoA, Lp(a), LDL-P, HDL-P... don't know if I remembered all of them.
If i'm not wrong it was a study called Interheart that found that relation apoA/apoB was the more predictive marker.
My view is that they don’t really matter. I know that sounds like madness, but I really don’t. I’ve spent hundreds of hours reading the lipid literature, and I’m just not convinced lipids having anything to do with heart disease. Eskimos supposedly have 29 words describing snow. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’ve heard it countless times. Lipidologists are the same. They keep slicing and dicing the various lipids into more and more subfractions in an effort to find something that confirms their notion that lipids cause heart disease.
I don’t believe they do. So a few years ago, I pretty much gave up on spending a lot of time keeping up with the lipid literature. I’m certain that if someone somewhere does the definitive study showing causality, it will be a sensation and will penetrate through the fog of my disinterest and get my attention. Till then I’ll spend my study time poring over the medical literature on different, non-lipid, subjects.
I’m on an email group with a number of other like-minded folks in which we kick around various opinions. A week or so ago, Malcolm Kendrick kicked in with what I thought was a brilliant description of the whole idea of cholesterol and heart disease. I emailed him separately asking for permission to share his email with readers of The Arrow. He graciously consented.
Here you go. Enjoy!
I sometimes use the analogy of the film twelve angry men. Most of you will have seen it.
Essentially, a young man/boy from a Hispanic background (this group was considered the dangerous criminal type of that era) is accused of stabbing his father to death. Various witnesses are brought forward. Someone who, probably, saw him doing the stabbing. Someone who heard him shout, previously, ‘I am going to kill you’, to his father. Someone who saw him running away. The knife used was almost unique and he was seen to have been carrying one etc. The evidence appears absolutely overwhelming, and inarguable. One man, played by Henry Fonda, has his doubts.
Despite all the evidence, the main reason why almost everyone is certain this young man is guilty is because he is a young Hispanic male, and killing people is what young Hispanic males do. In other words inbuilt prejudice is what is going to do for him. The police fitted him up, the evidence was completely one-sided. Anything that may have resulted in doubt was not even mentioned. His lawyer had obviously decided that he wasn’t going to get him off, so didn’t bother to put a reasonable defence case together.
However, as we all know. Each piece of evidence gradually unravelled. When examined properly.
I see Cholesterol in very much the same light. Cholesterol kills people… it is what it does. Everyone just knows this to be true. All the evidence that we see points to it. Yes, you can change the name to LDL, or sLDL, or pLDL, or LDL/HDL ratio. Disguise it as you like, alter its shape, but we all know what lurks beneath. It is that damned killer cholesterol. ‘Are you actually trying to tell me that cholesterol does not kill people! Are you mad? Look at the evidence.’
Well Uffe [Ravnskov], and David [Diamond], and me, and Michel de Logeril (and several of those on here [the email group]) have looked at the evidence, in detail. We know that cholesterol is innocent. But, boy, is it hard to rid people of their build-in prejudice against cholesterol. Cholesterol kills people, it is just what it does. One piece of evidence that the ‘cholesterol killers’ always cling to, when all else fails, is the ‘fact’ that the rate of CVD death in younger people is far, far, higher in familial hypercholesterolaemia. This, you see, is ultimate proof of the cholesterol hypothesis. ‘What do you say to that? Eh…Eh! Got you!’
In my case, I had already established, to my complete satisfaction that LDL (in whichever of its myriad forms we now have) cannot cause CVD. The proposed mechanism of action made no sense whatsoever, and still does not. However you twist and turn, and ignore various critical physiological systems it still doesn’t work. The cholesterol hypothesis was only, ever, reverse engineered. Look, we find that plaques contain a high concentration of cholesterol. Where can it have come from? The only place we can think of, is the bloodstream. Ergo, it is a high cholesterol level that must be the culprit. The rest, as they say, is history. All contradictory evidence swept aside.
Anyway, I looked at FH (as have others) with my, ‘LDL cannot cause’ CVD hat on. I asked the question why do some (a very small number) of those with FH die young of CVD. If it is not the LDL, then it must to be due to some other factor, that can more often be found associated with FH – probably genetic. And lo, it turns out that there is a small(ish) proportion of those with FH who also have clotting factors abnormalities. The clotting factors abnormalities are, often, genetically linked to LDL-receptor abnormalities. The LDL receptor, for example, has a role in removing blood clotting factors e.g. factor VIII. Therefore, in some genetic versions of FH, the clotting factors are considerably higher. It is in this smaller proportion where we find the increased CVD risk. A much smaller risk than we find with anti-phospholipid syndrome (APS) a.k.a. Hughes disease. Here, we find increased blood clotting risk, and a far, far, higher risk of CVD. Considerably higher than with FH. But, with APS, there is no association with cholesterol levels.
I will leave you with one interesting fact. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is often associated with/causes APS (APS is found in about 50% of those with SLE). In young women with lupus + APS, the risk of CVD is increased by 5,000%. Yes, you did read that right. What is the increased lifetime risk of CVD in FH? As David has pointed out, it is zero.
I think if I were looking for an underlying cause of CVD I would turn my attention away from cholesterol, towards a condition that can increase (relative risk) by 5,000%. Repeat after me. Cholesterol does not cause CVD. Every piece of evidence that appears to support this hypothesis crumbles to dust under proper investigation.
Twelve angry men indeed.
If you haven’t read Malcolm’s book The Clot Thickens, click the link and get it right now. Don’t even read on first and get it later, or you might forget. It’s a wonderful book everyone concerned about heart disease and health in general should read. And, like Malcolm himself, it’s both brilliant and funny.
Weakness Is the New Smoking
While holed up in Fayetteville I read a new study that I loved. Problem is, I love it because it tells me what I want to hear. Which is that strength, measured as handgrip strength, is a proxy for actual biological age.
Your chronological age is your age as measured by the calendar. If you were born 60 years ago today, your chronological age is 60. Biological age is determined by biological markers instead of the calendar. You may be 60 years old as measured by the calendar, but only 54 years old as determined by biological markers.
In the case above, the difference in your risk of dying is substantial. I don’t know the exact numbers, but whatever your risk of dying over the next, say, 15 years if your chronological age is 60 is markedly reduced if your biological age is 54. You would have the same risk of dying as the average person of whatever sex you are at age 54.
One of the ways researchers measure biological age is by DNA methylation. DNA methylation is a process by which certain genes turned off. It’s a fairly complex process, so instead of trying to explain it in an understandable way, I decided to look for a YouTube animation. I spent at least an hour watching these videos, most of which were either too complex or too simple. I found two that explain the process fairly well in understandable English. You can watch them if you want to learn more about DNA methylation or skip on down to the explanation of the study.
I like this one because it’s simple, and I love this woman’s voice.
This one is a little more technical and up to date.
To better understand how all this works, imagine two identical twins. They both have exactly the same DNA. They look alike as kids, but as they grow older they begin to differentiate. One may gain more weight or develop diabetes or heart disease while the other doesn’t. Since they have exactly the same genetics, they should age in the same way. But they don’t.
Because genetic structure doesn’t control everything. All the same genes are there in both twins, but external forces can end up turning certain genes on and others off. If one twin consumes a proper diet while the other doesn’t, that external force—the biological changes brought about by the difference in diets—can cause certain genes to be turned off in one twin and left on in the other. With changes of weight, blood sugar, insulin resistance, skin tone, etc. creating a difference in the two identical twins.
Since DNA methylation can determine which genes are turned on and which are turned off, it can be used as a marker for aging. Average people of a certain age are expected to have a particular methylation pattern consistent with that age. People who smoke age prematurely and have a DNA methylation pattern consistent with that premature age and the habit.
The press report on this study says
Researchers at Michigan Medicine modeled the relationship between biological age and grip strength of 1,274 middle aged and older adults using three “age acceleration clocks” based on DNA methylation, a process that provides a molecular biomarker and estimator of the pace of aging. The clocks were originally modeled from various studies examining diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, physical disability, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation and early mortality.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Mark Peterson, explained.
We’ve known that muscular strength is a predictor of longevity, and that weakness is a powerful indicator of disease and mortality, but, for the first time, we have found strong evidence of a biological link between muscle weakness and actual acceleration in biological age.
This suggests that if you maintain your muscle strength across the lifespan, you may be able to protect against many common age-related diseases. We know that smoking, for example, can be a powerful predictor of disease and mortality, but now we know that muscle weakness could be the new smoking.
The researchers at the University of Michigan compared the DNA methylation patterns of those with more powerful handgrip strength to those of the same chronological age but lesser handgrip strength and discovered the former had the same biological marker picture as those with a younger chronological age.
The only issue I have with the study is that it implies that by merely increasing your handgrip strength, you will decrease your chronological age. I’m not sure that’s the case. I don’t think you can sit around all day watching TV and squeezing one of those grip strengthener devices and hope to become younger for your efforts.
The authors do mention in passing that handgrip strength is a proxy for overall strength, which I suspect is true. But more often than not they discuss how handgrip strength is a biological marker for health and greater longevity. And, granted, it is much easier to measure than other forms of strength.
But I don’t want anyone to get the idea that simply strengthening your grip without strengthening your body as whole will make your biological age decrease.
Video of the Week
I love this video about the FDA.
This looks like a movie I would love.
That’s about it for today. One of the issues I have with Substack is that I don’t have a running total of words written, so I can’t tell if I’ve gone on too long, or haven’t gone on enough.
I can’t believe the word count isn’t in there somewhere. I’m sure I just can’t find it.
Keep in good cheer, and I’ll be back next Thursday.
P.S. Don’t forget the low-carb conference in Boca Raton this coming January.
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