The Cholesterol Correlation – Forgotten History

The Cholesterol Correlation is one of the longest running soap operas in the illustrious history of Post-Normal Science.

A soap opera, soapie, or soap is a serial drama and suspense on television or radio which features related story lines about the lives of multiple characters.

The stories typically focus on emotional relationships to the point of melodrama.

The term “soap opera” originated from their having been typically sponsored by soap manufacturers in former years.

Post-Normal techniques became dominant [and entrenched] during the 1950s as direct government funding [and control] directed education and scientific research.

Before World War II there was very little government funding of science, but that changed because of war-time necessities.

In 1951, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) was established to provide support for post-World War II scientific research.

The methodology for administrating science-funding, invented in the early 1950s by NSF, has been adopted essentially unchanged by virtually all subsequent U.S. Government funding agencies, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Inventions and Deceptions: Post-Normal Science

The Cholesterol Correlation is a very profitable soap opera.

Statins… are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels

In 2005 sales were estimated at $18.7 billion in the United States.

The best-selling statin is atorvastatin, which in 2003 became the best-selling pharmaceutical in history.

The manufacturer Pfizer reported sales of US$12.4 billion in 2008.

Because this medical soap opera has been running for over 60 years very few people have watched all the episodes and even fewer know about all the storylines that have been woven into the saga of the Cholesterol Correlation.

The storyline of the first episode of the Cholesterol Correlation recounts the forgotten history of the “public health initiatives” that radically reduced mortality rates.

The Cholesterol Correlation – Forgotten History

In the 19th century infectious diseases were a “constant terror”.

Infectious diseases were a constant terror during the 1800s.

With increasingly dense populations, wars, and abject poverty, diseases of all varieties exacted a horrendous toll.

The poverty-stricken masses carried the brunt of the relentless assaults of these diseases, yet no class was spared.

Periodic epidemics and pandemics swept across the globe, wreaking havoc and killing millions, rivalling the horrors of war.

Abysmal sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, and working and living conditions, combined with a sense of utter hopelessness, laid the foundation for the devastation.

Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History
Suzanne Humphries MD and Roman Bystrianyk

However, a decline in the death rate from infectious diseases began in the 1850s [and radically accelerated after 1880 in the UK and USA due to “massive public health initiatives”.

With so many changes occurring due to massive public health initiatives, the dreadful living situation that existed for multitudes dramatically improved by the mid-1800s.

Sanitary infrastructure, understanding of hygiene, vastly improved nutrition, labor laws, advances in science, and many other factors coalesced to create a radical shift.

Children who were once dying from diarrhea and common infectious diseases were living and thriving in greater numbers within the span of several decades.

The Western world had transitioned from squalor and suffering to what we recognize as our modern world.

Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History
Suzanne Humphries MD and Roman Bystrianyk
UK Death Rate per million population

Death rates at lowest ever levels in England and Wales – BBC News – 22 July 2010

These “massive public health initiatives” effectively eradicated the “constant terror” of infectious diseases by 1950 in the UK and USA.

UK Infectious Diseases

Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and The Forgotten History
Suzanne Humphries MD and Roman Bystrianyk

The key point of this forgotten history is that a radical reduction in the mortality rate was achieved by “public health initiatives” and not by advances in medicine.

By 1871 some 97% of the population of the UK were vaccinated or immune from already having suffered smallpox, according to evidence given to Parliamentary Select Committee.

But just as this report was published a major Europe-wide smallpox epidemic spread killing some 22,062 in England and Wales and over 124,900 in Germany.

Shockingly, this epidemic seemed to mostly target the vaccinated.

Other steps clearly had to be taken.

This led the UK to a Public Health Act ordering the cleaning of cities, vast improvements in water supplies and public hygiene.

The public authorities o Leicester in the UK uniquely combined greatly improving hygiene, water and food supplies with lessons learnt from the Germ Theory, the latter imposing a citywide program of strict quarantine and disinfection.

This had a startling success.

It was not only smallpox that was stopped.

They also eliminated most cases of measles and other infectious diseases.

Leicester had remarkably achieved this while discarding vaccination completely, for the city authorities said they had found it hazardous and no help.

Their results seemed to bear this out,

‘Our small-pox death-rate was only 89 per million in 1893, with little vaccination; while [nationwide, with vaccination] it was 3,523 per million in 1872.’

Fear of the Invisible – Janine Roberts – 2008 – Impact Investigative Media Productions

This is underlined by the eradication of smallpox by “public health” techniques in the 20th century.

Contrary to popular belief smallpox was not eradicated by mass vaccination.

Though tried initially it proved difficult to implement in many countries and was abandoned in favour of surveillance-containment.

This involved trained workers searching for cases, with rewards for those who found them.

Cases and their contacts were then isolated; contacts were vaccinated.

Interestingly this strategy incorporated elements of a system devised in 1778 by John Haygarth in Chester.

The last natural case occurred in Somalia in 1977 and after exhaustive enquiries the 1980 WHO Assembly concluded that smallpox had been eradicated.

The End of Smallpox – Derrick Baxby – History Today Volume 49 Issue 3 March 1999

Probably the most successful medical advance before the Second World War [that significantly reduced mortality rates] was the widespread adoption of 4,000 year old antiseptic techniques after 1867.

The widespread introduction of antiseptic surgical methods followed the publishing of the paper Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery in 1867 by Joseph Lister, inspired by Louis Pasteur’s germ theory of putrefaction.

In this paper, Lister advocated the use of carbolic acid (phenol) as a method of ensuring that any germs present were killed.

Ancient Greek physicians Galen (circa 130–200) and Hippocrates (circa 400 BC) and Sumerian clay tablets dating from 2150 BC that advocate the use of similar techniques.

Heat (flame) sterilization of medical instruments is known to have been used in Ancient Rome [citation needed], but it mostly disappeared throughout the Middle Ages, causing significant increases in disability and death following surgical procedures.

The next major medical advance [that significantly reduced mortality rates] was achieved during the Second World War when penicillin heralded the arrival of the age of antibiotics.

The first sulfonamide and first commercially available antibacterial, Prontosil, was developed by a research team led by Gerhard Domagk in 1932 at the Bayer Laboratories of the IG Farben conglomerate in Germany.

Domagk received the 1939 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his efforts.

Prontosil had a relatively broad effect against Gram-positive cocci, but not against enterobacteria.

Research was stimulated apace by its success.

The discovery and development of this sulfonamide drug opened the era of antibacterials.

In 1939, coinciding with the start of World War II, Rene Dubos reported the discovery of the first naturally derived antibiotic, tyrothricin, a compound of 20% gramicidin and 80% tyrocidine, from B. brevis.

It was one of the first commercially manufactured antibiotics universally and was very effective in treating wounds and ulcers during World War II.

Gramicidin, however, could not be used systemically because of toxicity.

Tyrocidine also proved too toxic for systemic usage.

Research results obtained during that period were not shared between the Axis and the Allied powers during the war.

Florey and Chain succeeded in purifying the first penicillin, penicillin G, in 1942, but it did not become widely available outside the Allied military before 1945.


Therefore, after the Second World War the career prospects for many medical professionals looked bleak due to the success of “public health initiatives” and antibiotics.

But all was not lost because the devil makes work for idle hands

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