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nightsurfer on 2009-12-23Last week, Harvard researchers reported how healthy 50-year-old men and 60-year-old women could benefit from taking a statin even if they didn't have high cholesterol. The people they studied had high levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP, which is a marker for inflammation. The study showed that risk for major heart problems was cut by about 50 percent among the statin users.
But like many industry-sponsored drug studies, the results focused on something called "relative risk," which compares differences between study groups. Relative risk has the effect of exaggerating a drug's benefits. What does a 50 percent reduction in heart risk mean? It means that just one out of 120 statin users was helped by the drug.