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I am now holding the original, Polish edition of a book called "The Hidden Therapies - What your doctor won't tell you" authored by Jerzy Zięba, who is widely considered to be a quack by medical authorities in my country. Nevertheless, the sheer amount of facts (or "facts"?) and research papers cited by Mr. Zięba warrants some closer skeptical attention.

Among many other claims Mr. Zięba says that the reference ranges of cholesterol are set up to 200 mg/dl without any prior scientific research and with the explicit purpose to allow pharmaceutical corporations to test statins on a wide range of population. To back up this accusation Mr. Zięba says what follows:

  • The reference range was set during The National Consensus Development Conference on Lowering Blood Cholesterol to Prevent Heart Disease;
  • The reference range was supposed to be set through a consensus among the Conference attendants, rather than through scientific research;
  • The Conference was initiated by the NHLBI, led by physicians: Cleeman, Lenfant and Ryfkin;
  • These physicians also formed the presidium of the aforementioned Conference;
  • The purpose of setting the reference ranges up to 200 mg/dl was motivated by the desire to conduct research on many healthy Americans;
  • Dr. Mary Enig, attending the conference, publicly accused these physicians in 1984 of setting the reference range with the explicit purpose to have enough people to conduct research.

I will now quote how Mr. Zięba quotes Ms Enig. The problem is that I only have the book in Polish, so I will have to quote this passage in Polish. Supposedly, Ms Enig said:

„Kilkoro z nas z Grupy Badawczej Wydziału Chemii Tłuszczów z Uniwersystetu w Maryland stało bezpośrednio za nimi (za ww. lekarzami), słysząc wyraźnie ich rozmowę. Jeden z nich powiedział: »nie możemy ustalić tego na poziomie 240 mg/dl, musi to być 200 mg/dl, w przeciwnym wypadku nie będziemy mieli wystarczającej liczby osób do prowadzenia badań«.

Popatrzyliśmy na siebie i już nikt z nas się nie zdziwił, kiedy usłyszeliśmy jaka to ma być norma”.

I will now try my best to translate this passage into English. Of course, the inherent problem is that I am now translating from Polish into English a citation that must've been previously translated from English into Polish, so if anyone could find the original quotation, I'd be grateful.

“A few people from the Lipids Research Group in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry of the University of Maryland, me including, were standing right behind them [those physicians: Cleeman, Lenfant and Ryfkin]. We could clearly hear their conversation. One of them said: ‘We cannot set this to 240 mg/dl, this must be 200 mg/dl, or else we won't have enough people to conduct research’.

“We looked at ourselves and none of us was surprised to hear the reference range”.

Did Mary Enig say these words?

Are there any reliable sources to believe that the accused act of corruption indeed took place?

The aforementioned claims come from: Ukryte Terapie - Czego lekarz ci nie powie by Jerzy Zięba, vol. 2, pages 107-112.

  • I've heard variant claims, mostly that they lower the "healthy range" so they can push more statins. – fredsbend Oct 18 '17 at 14:26

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