It's the cure-all that doesn't really "cure" a thing -- but that hasn't stopped the mainstream from throwing cholesterol-lowering statin drugs at absolutely everything anyway.
The latest: A new push to give these meds not to people who suffer from high cholesterol (who don't need the drugs, either), but to people suffering from the flu.
No, it's not April 1st and I didn't just make that up: Researchers now claim that statins can not only beat the flu, but actually stop people from dying of the illness.
In this case, an observational study of flu patients who were hospitalized for the condition found that people on statins were 41 percent less likely to die than people not on the meds.
Just one problem -- one huge problem: This wasn't a clinical trial. No one was randomly assigned to statins or a placebo. In fact, there were no placebos at all. It was simply a hindsight look at flu patients and their outcomes as well as whatever meds they happened to be taking at the time.
The researchers claim they waved their magic statistical wand over the study and adjusted for everything from age and race to chronic conditions and diseases to get a picture of the patients' overall health, and still found a benefit for statins.
But since it wasn't a real clinical trial, it's impossible to adjust for everything -- and it's quite likely that patients who were already on statins were patients who were already under the active care of a doctor.
These people are more likely to take the actions they think will help keep them healthy (even if it's the wrong action, like swallowing statins every day) and more likely to seek help quicker when they do get sick.
The patients not on statins, on the other hand, might include people who tend to avoid doctors and medical care -- at least, in this case, until they were so sick with the flu they were hospitalized for it.
Here's the reality of the situation: Statins are wrong for cholesterol… and they're certainly wrong for all the other conditions they're being touted for (I've seen claims they can help with everything from dementia to cancer, no kidding).
And they're especially wrong for flu: Some of these meds even have respiratory infections and influenza listed as possible side effects!
You couldn't come up with a worse flu treatment if you tried.