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Beta-blockers, Statins, AF, and the Nocebo Effect

Our brains can easily fool us. No experienced doctor would deny the power of the placebo effect. Today I want to discuss the nocebo effect, which occurs when negative expectations of something causes it to have a more negative effect than it otherwise would. Drugs can exert a strong nocebo effect. If your brain thinks… Continue reading Beta-blockers, Statins, AF, and the Nocebo Effect

Statins, Like All Medicines, Are Neither Good Nor Bad

We have to talk about drugs. No, not illicit drugs, but medications used by doctors and patients. Plaintiff attorneys run ads on TV that fool people into thinking certain meds are bad. The current one I deal with is the clot-blocking drug rivaroxaban (Xarelto.) Before that, it was dabigatran (Pradaxa). If, or when, the makers… Continue reading Statins, Like All Medicines, Are Neither Good Nor Bad

More on the gambling decision to take statins

In my last post, I wrote my initial thoughts of an important new study on how the decision to take a medication or have a screening test in the name of prevention is similar to playing the lottery. I promised to think and write about the study more carefully. My latest thoughts are now published… Continue reading More on the gambling decision to take statins

Athletes, AF, Anticoagulants, Statins, Peanuts, and Dishwashers

Here is an update on my recent writing. Athletes and AF: I was honored to be invited back to the Western AF symposium in Park City, Utah. Last year, I presented on social media. This year, Dr. Nassir Marrouche (University of Utah) asked me to tackle the topic of atrial fibrillation in athletes. This is… Continue reading Athletes, AF, Anticoagulants, Statins, Peanuts, and Dishwashers

Do statins impair muscle performance?

On Wednesdays, I try to write on a topic of exercise and health. If you exercise but still have high cholesterol or other risks for heart disease, you may be interested in a new study from my old medical school proving ground–Hartford Hospital. The deftly named STOMP trial looked carefully at the effects of statin… Continue reading Do statins impair muscle performance?

There is no free lunch–especially with statins

‘Good,’ I say. Let’s spread the word that pills do not hold the answer to preventing heart disease. And while we are shouting, let’s add this one: There’s no such thing as a free lunch! Medicines come with more than just a dollar cost. When an obscure AF doctor blogs about the limitations of statins… Continue reading There is no free lunch–especially with statins

Statins are so misunderstood…

The medical assistant who checked the patient in tells me, “Dr Mandrola, this guy had coronary artery disease since the 1980’s.  He is 90 years-old now, and his only medicines are that statin and aspirin.”  One of the more common questions that arises in cardiology is whether a person should take a statin drug. Despite… Continue reading Statins are so misunderstood…

I am not quitting social media

I recently finished an academic review paper on the role of social media in medicine and cardiology. My co-author and friend Piotr Futyma (Rzeszów Poland) and I focused mostly on the upsides of digital media. It’s not yet published but it is accepted.  I was an early and accidental adopter of social media. I used… Continue reading I am not quitting social media

The Future of Predicting Heart Disease May Be In Your Genes

Three cases first: A young woman I met recently (outside the hospital) told me her Dad died suddenly a couple of years ago. He was fine, then he was stone cold dead. The wife went outside for a minute and came back to find her husband dead in the chair. There were no warnings. No… Continue reading The Future of Predicting Heart Disease May Be In Your Genes

Four Crucial Questions To Ask Your Doctor

I am seeing an increasing number of patients who did not know they had a choice about taking a medicine or having a procedure. Why did you have that heart cath? A: My doctor said I should. Why are you on that medicine? A: My doctor prescribed it. It’s time we re-review the basic four… Continue reading Four Crucial Questions To Ask Your Doctor

I am changing…

Seven years have passed since I started this blog. In that time… I have learned some basics about writing. (I almost wrote, “I have learned to write,” which would have been foolish, since, writing-wise, I have plenty to learn.) I have learned to stay upright on the bicycle. Concussions made me understand that the joys… Continue reading I am changing…