Battling scientists, warring doctors, sparring academic journals – what are we to make of the statins debate?
It is on days like this, in an age when every aspect of public life is under ever intense scrutiny, that science can appear as if it exists on an island all its own.
Whatever The Lancet’s intentions behind its publication today of the latest paper looking at the evidence on statins, I fear it may have ended up fuelling the flames rather than shedding further light on the arguments that surround its use.
This is how it seems to me, having listened to various news programmes and some of the phone-ins such as BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine. Not to mention Twitter where it has been trending all day (see #statins).
Beyond the hyperbole and leaving aside those with particular agendas to push, what are you and I to think when we hear research evidence put up against people’s experiences that may or may not support this? How are we to approach making the right decision for ourselves if and when we got to see our GP. Not least since many doctors are also finding such dilemmas increasingly difficult to make sense of.
These are the more important questions that get lost when the media is in a frenzy and experts (some genuine, others self-appointed) are bobbing up here, there and everywhere to ‘put us straight.’
Perhaps the statin furore is a golden opportunity for patients, carers and the public to begin to say what tools, information and support is need to help them approach such conversations with greater confidence and reach the right decision for you and your family?
I am a member of the Academy of Medical Sciences’ on-going working group looking at how society uses evidence and I would love to hear from you on this question. So please do leave a comment. Or if you prefer you can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org