Monday, July 7, 2008

Statins for 8-year-olds: can it get any worse?

I haven't been posting much lately, but today's news story that the world has gone mad ... I mean, that the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending statins for children as young as eight with high LDL cholesterol spurred me to action. This is truly a chilling story, worth of the most terrifying of Stephen King horror novels. Why? Because of the way that statins work on the body. In adults, they can wreak quite a bit of havoc (see Space Doc for lots of stories on this), but in developing bodies, we're talking about a whole 'nother level. Statins, derived from poisonous mushrooms, do a whole lot more than just lower cholesterol. They act on what is known as the mevalonate pathway, which is key in the development of the basic building blocks of the body, such as proteins and hormone regulators. The idea of inhibiting this pathway in a person who is still growing goes so completely against anything resembling the Hippocratic oath that I am frankly shocked and appalled that any pediatrician, much less the national representative body of these physicians, could possibly advocate this, especially in children who are largely healthy except for their cholesterol and weight levels. It's as if they're suggesting cutting out a child's eyes in case they may some day go blind in old age. Usually I try to put a note dry humor into my blog posts, but today I can't even bring myself to do that. This is just too depressing for words, witty or otherwise.