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Another man’s poison

The medical profession has established beyond doubt that high cholesterol contributes to heart disease. What it won't accept is that low cholesterol can be dangerous too-causing violent and suicidal behaviour in some people. Matt Ridley explains why going back to fry-ups may be good for us

By Matt Ridley   January 1996

One day in 1987, two scientists were walking down the street in Washington, DC, when one stopped to buy the New York Times. It carried news of the latest study of heart disease, in which 2,051 people in Helsinki had been given a drug to lower their cholesterol levels, compared with 2,030 who had been given a placebo. The results of the study were only mildly encouraging. Fourteen of those on the drug had died of heart disease in five years; 19 of those on the placebo. But what caught Stephen Manuck’s eye was something else.

“Look at this bit,”…

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