Authors of JUPITER attack are members of obscure anti-cholesterol group

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.


  1. So if Sanjay Kaul, Ryan Morrissey, and George Diamond are not members of this ‘cult-like’ group, what excuse to discredit their findings will those who have something to gain by endorsing statins come up with? Their opinions appear to be identical to Michel de Lorgeril. Perhaps they are drinking the same Kool-Aid?

    We know that studies sponsored by pharmaceutical companies are more than four times as likely to have outcomes favoring the funder’s drug compared to studies with independent sponsors.

    And that may explain why virtually all statin trials are unlikely to “constantly harp on the dangerous side effects of statins”, are they?

    Other examples (remember Gabapentin trials slammed by the NEJM?) in “Warning: Clinical Trials Funded By Drug Companies May Appear More Truthful Than They Actually Are” on The Ethical Nag: Marketing Ethics For The Easily Swayed:

  2. Dr. de Lorgeril and his co-author Patricia Salen do not seem to be opposed to industry-funded research in general. They are on the scientific advisory board for The Columbus Paradigm Institute SA, a BNLfood Group (Belovo) company. (THINCS member Dr. Uffe Ravnskov is also a member of the SAB.)

    The purposes of the SAB include:

    •review and evaluate studies in progress funded by Belovo
    •consider new proposals
    •generate research proposals
    •develop collaborative research
    •review statements developed by Belovo for scientific accuracy (i.e. Common Statement)
    •ensure that marketing is based on scientific concepts and principles
    •establish an international network of scientists for the presentation of the scientific aspects of the Columbus Concept to the press

    BNLfood Group (Belovo) produces foods such as eggs with a high Omega-3 content. So, naturally, BNLfood Group is interested in funding research on its products.

    So, Dr. de Lorgeril and Ms. Salen are apparently fine with studies funded by industries that they approve of.

  3. Alexander Ellodim says

    I think that if you can’t criticize the message correctly, it’s easier to criticize the messenger.

    So far you did’nt add anything to the discussion, just been calling names (“vicious”, “obscure”)


  1. […] Steve Nissen, who says “the paper is not science. It is more of an assault.” As CardioBrief points out, two authors of the attack on Jupiter belong to the International Network of Cholesterol […]

  2. […] Authors of JUPITER attack committed self-plagiarism Posted on July 8, 2010 by Larry Husten Though the titles differ slightly, a 2008 article in the Scandanavian Cardiovascular Journal by Michel de Lorgeril and Patricia Salen is identical– word for word and footnote for footnote– to an earlier article by the same authors published  in 2006 in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases. de Lorgeril and Salen are the first two authors of the recent attack on JUPITER published in Archives of Internal Medici and de Lorgeril is a member of an obscure, cult-like group of cholesterol skeptics,  the International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS), as first reported by CardioBrief. […]

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