A Dream Of Running And A Dead Mouse, plus “Remember, just say no to statins!”


Hi folks, welcome!

StalagmitesIf this blog post doesn’t make a lot of sense, it’s because I’m still in a post-surgical drug-induced fog. Maybe I should try reading Ulysses again, right now? Yes! I’ll give it another try. Thinking of dreams, fantasy and the like, I just enjoyed another important guiding dream, which went as follows:

“I was heading out on a run, feeling strong, light and flexible, and I found that I could run like the wind, over any and all terrain. The ground varied from thick tangled tree roots, reminding me of Fangorn, to stalagmites of sharp crystal, all an opalescent green. I ran on as lightly as an elf, being passed by two superior runners, whom I admire, with no reduction of the delight I experienced in the run. But then I suddenly found myself in my kitchen attempting to resuscitate an extremely cold wet mouse. 500px-Apodemus_sylvaticus_bosmuisHe was a lovely little chap, with a twinkle in his eye, but he was cold, oh so cold. My approach was to find a pottery ware bowl, warm it in the oven, place the mouse in a similar but much smaller bowl, and then removing the larger container from the oven, I placed the mouse in the small bowl inside the larger heated one, and closed the lid. But, alas, I had heated up the outer bowl too much, and when I opened the whole contraption, the mouse had expired from hyperthermia, and I awoke, devastated”

The message of my dream: FitOldDog will be running soon, but he had better take it very slowly at first or he’ll be in trouble.

Your next sports injury is only one little mistake away.

Shane Ellison makes war on the Pharmaceutical Industry

The famous or infamous Shane Ellison, depending on your point of view.

Finally, the issue of statins. I have a remarkable comment stream on this blog, of which I am sure many of you are unaware. It seems to have a life all of it’s own, unlike my poor little mouse. This all came about when I wrote a blog post entitled, “A Masters Degree in Science: In Defense of my Colleagues in PHARMA.” I published this brief article on July 8th. 2011, and people have been looking at it every day since. Sometimes quite a lot of people. Some even go to the trouble of commenting. I did follow up with sequels, but the first one seems to attract the lion’s share of the attention. My view of statins appears to be strongly reciprocated by Chris Wunsch, as his last comment finished with, “Remember, just say no to statins.” I find this comment stream fascinating. Some proposed comments I reluctantly deleted as they fell into the category of hate mail, which is surely a consequence of certain people failing to perceive my approach to debate, which is:

It doesn’t matter who’s right, it only matters what’s right. If you attack the argument, not the person, you’ll achieve a lot more that way.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. When you closed the lid you could have suffocated it.

    • Ah yes, surely. But it was my dream and it belonged to me – whoever that might be. The pottery was of high quality, but not glazed, and somewhat rough to the touch, and given the fractal properties of such pottery, the diffusion coefficient of oxygen, combined with the minute respiratory volume of a mouse, this would be an extremely unlikely eventuality, though as we know almost anything can occur in dreams.

  2. Glenn Jones says

    Glad tidings! Excellent news to read that you have woken with a renewed dedication to questionable Irish literature, Kevin. I presumed you were talking about Joyce’s Ulysses rather than Homer’s Odyssey.

    Kevin, as you wend your way through drug-induce haze, rehab, Christmas, New Year (in no particular order) and the general road to recovery (they all require some level of ‘recovery’ in my experience), I would be interested in your views on statins as my GP just gave me a low dose starter pack of Crestor ‘for Christmas’.

    I would also be interested in your views on suspension/body weight training as I just gave myself the starter pack from TRX (I always prefer the gifts I buy for myself. While I lose the element of surprise, at least I know I’m going to like what I get) 🙂

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery through Christmas and the New Year, and a healthy and happy 2014,

    Kind regards – Glenn

    PS -I’ll be thinking of you as we swelter through the predicted 100F Christmas heat here in Oz. Bing Crosby said it all when it comes to traditional Christmas weather.

    • Hi Glenn, yes, the Irish Bard. I just downloaded it to my Nook. I’m sure my brother, Trevor, will smile, knowing that I have little chance of making sense of it.


      When it comes to statins do not trust your doctor without questioning, is what I say. Until he has demonstrated that he knows what he is talking about – when it comes to statins, or any piece of Biochemistry, I don’t think anyone knows what they are talking about, much like quantum mechanics, really, when I come to think about it. See my comment to Trevor (my somewhat intransigent, but intellectually challenging – that’s good – brother) in the subsequent comment on this stream. As a veterinary pathologist, I’ve seen the damage done to muscle by statins up close and personal in a laboratory rat. That was enough for me. I have also succeeded in markedly improving my lipid profile, especially HDL, by combining Ironman training with the Paleo diet (HDL 19 -> 79, a much better measure of cholesterol traffic flux with respect to reverse transport). Take them at your peril, but you have to decide. Tell me your lipid profile and I’ll tell you what I would do, but it’s your call, as you know.


      I tried it at a triathlon training camp. Pretty f-ing amazing. It kicks butt, but you better follow safe practice rules and learn from someone who knows what they’re doing or you’ll pull something sure as eggs is eggs. I think it dovetails well with intensity training and less with endurance work for the older athlete due to injury risk – but done correctly that should be no disincentive. Take your time and you’ll be strong, that’s for sure.

      I had my Christmas snow at the Cleveland Clinic 6 days out of surgery, which was nice, and walked a gentle 2.5 miles today. But everything beats me up, even writing.

      Have a great holiday, don’t give yourself rhabdomyolysis (diabetes or brain damage or whatever) or a hernia with your statins and TRX respectively.



  3. No to statins! In all cases for all time? Why precisely?

    • Hi Trevor, excellent question, and a challenging one with no simple answers.

      You should really address your question to Chris Wunsch, as it was his statement, thus in quotes in the title and narrative. Though Chris was severely burned by them, thus his reaction – once bitten, twice shy. I’m sure there are cases where statins might have value over or combined with life-style changes, but in the US the first line of defense is a pill, which in this case happens to be a pretty nasty and great money-making poison (I know, the dose makes the poison).

      In order to decide whether to put a pill in your mouth and swallow you need to understand what that means. In the case of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors, you are not just damming the stream of chemical flow through the cholesterol synthetic pathway, because the body doesn’t work like a simple assembly line. You are screwing with a complex network, in which is embedded what is known as the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway [this, by the way, is one of the most amazing chemical tricks I ever studied – un-f-ing-believable]. My frustration trying to explain such things to physicians and other scientists when I was buried in large-scale gene expression and related network analysis for over a decade, was their inability to think about how networks might behave. Simply put, their view of Biology is general naive in the extreme, except in certain instances.

      This embedded pathway has ancient roots, and is busily talking to all the other networks and their embedded pathways [I started to doubt the value of the pathway concept eventually] running the machine, much like your city bus is talking to all the other traffic in a city through is influence on traffic flux along each street and intersection it traverses. I discovered that people who prescribe such dangerous chemicals rarely understand what it is they’re actually doing, relying on a very crude tool indeed, the clinical trial.

      Furthermore, I doubt very much that such inhibitors only inhibit the pathway for which they are known, and thus the plot thickens, but you only live once and have to decide what to do – no easy.

      To me it isn’t whether you should take or not take a statin, it is about making decisions based on the best understanding of what you are doing that you can achieve, along with ranking alternatives. I suspect, that in 95%+ of cases, modification of diet + moderate exercise (regular walking for instance), will do the trick. For me, as a serious hyperlipidemic, a low-carb diet + Ironman training was much more effective than a statin, without the attendant risks. I tried it!

      Really, Chris should say, “Say no to statins until you have tried all reasonable alternatives, and you have run your own personal benefit/risk assessment.”

      Suggesting putting statins in the drinking water borders on criminality, and brings forth images of Trofim Lysenko.

      OH! I’m getting tired again. Buggar!

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.