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The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS) is a lobbyist-backed think tank, founded and led from 2003 by Uffe Ravnskov. Its primary objective is to promote denialism "skepticism" regarding the scientific consensus on the lipid hypothesisWikipedia's W.svg, the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease, and the deleterious effects of dietary cholesterol.

Their statement on their homepage that "the scientific evidence in support of the cholesterol campaign is non-existent"[1] displays a wilful ignorance of scientific literature.[2][3]

THINCS has a particular opposition to statin medication, probably because evidence of its efficacy would undermine their agenda. As such, they cherry-pick studies to suggest that statins promote cancer and heart failure,[4][5] despite the prevailing science tending to show, if anything, a preventative effect.[6][7][8][9]

The Cholesterol Myths[edit]

The formation of THINCS was apparently inspired by Ravnskov's book, published under the English title of The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease in 2000. Although respected as an authoritative guidebook for cholesterol "skeptics", this work engages in fallacies and deceptive rhetoric.

Ravnskov misinterprets the term "cause" in a scientific context (hint: it does not mean "sufficient condition"), and thus, systematically argues against a strawman position that respectable scientists don't even hold - i.e. that the amount and type of dietary fat is the only factor determining blood cholesterol, which in turn is the only determinant of atherosclerosis and heart disease, and no other factor matters. Accordingly, at one point, he interprets a statistic of only 80% and not 100% of heart attack deaths being in people with atherosclerosis as a vindication of his theory (it's not.)

Similarly, in citing the Framingham Heart Study and the declining rate of heart-disease mortality in Japan since 1970, he conflates correlation with causation to support his hypothesis that high cholesterol is actually beneficial, while ignoring confounding factors such as malnourishment or chronic illness that simultaneously lower both blood cholesterol and general health outcomes.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]