Document Detail

History of the cholesterol controversy in Britain.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19042967     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The lipid hypothesis, the concept that cholesterol plays a causal role in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, has been the subject of a controversy which started in the 1950s, peaked in the 1970s and 80s and then subsided in the 1990s. It was finally resolved by the positive outcome of the Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study, the first of 14 prevention trials using statins which showed that lowering cholesterol reduced both cardiovascular events and total mortality. This commentary focuses primarily on the events and people involved in the cholesterol controversy in Britain. The foremost critics of the lipid hypothesis are now deceased but unfortunately for many of the patients with hypercholesterolaemia and coronary heart disease it took the best part of 50 years to disprove the sceptics. This brief account relates why it took so long.
G R Thompson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article     Date:  2008-11-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  QJM : monthly journal of the Association of Physicians     Volume:  102     ISSN:  1460-2393     ISO Abbreviation:  QJM     Publication Date:  2009 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-01-22     Completed Date:  2009-04-14     Revised Date:  2009-05-29    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9438285     Medline TA:  QJM     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  81-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Metabolic Medicine, Division of Investigative Sciences, Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospital, Ducane Road, London W12 0NN, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Cholesterol / blood,  history*
Coronary Disease / history*,  prevention & control
Great Britain
History, 20th Century
Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects,  history*,  therapeutic use
Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy,  history
Simvastatin / history*,  therapeutic use
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors; 57-88-5/Cholesterol; 79902-63-9/Simvastatin
Comment In:
QJM. 2009 Jun;102(6):436-8   [PMID:  19299248 ]
QJM. 2009 Jun;102(6):435-6   [PMID:  19276210 ]
QJM. 2009 Feb;102(2):79-80   [PMID:  19158158 ]

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