Surely Australians can’t be this dumb? 171



View Profile

Australia is known for many things, our beautiful land, our obscure tasting sandwich spreads and our awesome animals. But if we don’t change things before too soon we’ll be known for something else and it isn’t nearly as complimentary as the others.

“Australia…the dumb country”. It doesn’t sound very nice, does it? However it seems as though we’re heading that way. In 2013 the ABC aired an episode of Catalyst that investigated the use of statins for cholesterol lowering and questioned their effectiveness. The University of Sydney has been studying the use of statins and actually found that since that episode aired, there has been 14,000 less prescriptions for statins used every week.

The researchers estimate that 60,897 fewer people have filled their statin prescriptions in the eight months following the Catalyst broadcast. They also said that this could “result in between 1,522 and 2,900 preventable and potentially fatal heart attacks and strokes”.

Earlier this year wellness blogger Belle Gibson was uncovered as a fraud after leading a following of thousands of people on a journey to find health and wellbeing, even falsifying a battle with cancer in the process. Through her social media channels she supported anti-vaccination, raw milk and Gerson Therapy to treat and cure cancer. There were hundreds of thousands of people following her, believing every word she said. But why?

Why are we so ready to believe everything we hear or read online and on television? Why do we throw away science and practical advice to follow in the footsteps of someone else – surely we can’t be that dumb? Yet somehow, we are.

In the case of statins, some doctors do believe that they’re being overprescribed. However, they’ve been proven highly valuable and are now recommended for:

  • Anyone who has cardiovascular disease inclying angina, a previous heart attack or stroke
  • Anyone with a very high level of harmful LDL cholesterol
  • Anyone with diabetes between the ages of 40 and 75 years old
  • Anyone with a greater than 7.5% chance of having a heart attack or stroke or developing other forms of cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years

Essentially, they’ve been proven incredibly effective in preventing a variety of heart conditions. So why were so many Australians so ready to turn away from science and follow something they simply heard on television?

Have we lost our ability to filter and verify information for the facts?

Perhaps we’ve changed our perceptions of “good” information and “bad” information as the digital age has progressed. We’re now so keen to find sources of information, sources of purpose and knowledge that we take anything on board.

Studies into the way humans think about, understand and believe information have identified that we actually take an approach where we believe everything we see and read. We consume the knowledge on the basis that it is 100% factually correct. Then we question the validity later. Questioning the validity of a source takes additional time, effort and thought so we instinctively shy away from the knowledge understanding process.

So where can we go from here? If a 22 year old girl and a one hour television program can coax us into disbelieving the medical advice we’ve received from doctors and medical professionals for years, will the cycle continue?

Join the discussion today and tell us, where do you get your medical advice? Do you actually take and believe your doctors advice? Or do you look for alternative sources like what you read and what you hear? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Do know people who believe everything the ABC airs is correct, hope I never get that silly. My doctor was appalled by the number of his patients that quit statins after watching that program.

    6 REPLY
    • The journos responsible for the ABC programme should show reason why they shouldn’t be sacked.
      Wendy – Do you believe everything which comes over commercial television?

    • Sack ABC workers, really? Blame the ABC, Wendy and others your political persuasion is showing. Gee I believe everything stated in a Murdoch owned paper, it’s so unbiased. Would you be so up in arms if you had read/seen a story on statins somewhere else? Answer – NO.

    • Why should they be sacked for giving us a different point of view so we can actually make an informed decision ?

    • No, my political persuasion takes no part of my comments. I believe in credit where credit is due, likewise discredit where that is due, too.

    • ABC wouldn’t show a program like this without lots of research and remember you’re fighting the big pharmaceutical companies/doctors who have billions to loose. It’s like smoking, how long did that take before people woke up? And it will happen.

    • Judt, Dennis is right, the abc were the ones who put the program to air and if they had done all,the looking into it before had properly they would have found out what the Ama has said, and should not have hone ahead with it. Therefore sack them.

  2. I certainly hope that we aren’t getting dumber.Their are always some who will believe anything they hear and run with it.It is extremely easy nowadays to check the pros and cons of a matter and i fail to understand why more people don’t.The anti vaxxers are a classic example of head in the sand mentality.Unfortunately it isn’t only the younger generation, as i know a few over 60’s who believe any rubbish that they hear from the media.Maybe our scientists need to invent a smart pill.

  3. I did not see this program but, have quit Statins !!! Due to “The Side Effects” and If I croak it tomorrow so be it. The side effects were debilitating. Within days after quitting I felt amazing. My brother and cousin have since quit for the same reason, not because of a TV program.

  4. All media need to go back and do a refersher course in journalism on honesty, respect and relaying the true said words of a conversation…Not how the media wanted the conversation portrayed so as to stir up an hatred debate.

    2 REPLY
  5. We do not get this advice (to use statins) from doctors and medical professionals- they are simply the messenger- this advice comes from the pharmaceutical companies who are defending a multi-billion dollar golden egg.
    Every person has the right to choose; but to choose wisely means that you have to read all the available information and then make up your own minds.
    A few ‘facts’
    Firstly, three quarters of the people who suffer heart attacks DO NOT HAVE HIGH CHOLESTEROL. Don’t take my word for it….google it. Statins have side effects, some severe. Read the little sheet that comes with the pack (you will need a magnifying glass) and then google it…research needed. Google also what others have to say about the risks of statins.
    Thirdly, there are natural products and activities that will reduce cholesterol (red rice for example, or a healthy diet) without the side effects that you incur with statins.. Google it.
    Lastly you should research whether your doctor receives ‘benefits’ for prescribing cholesterol lowering drugs….google it.
    One final point is that low cholesterol also has side effects…google that as well.
    The ‘dumb’ Australians are those who do not do their homework and blindly follow inadequately researched, or biased advice.
    I gave up taking statins 2 years ago and no longer suffer the muscle pain that came with that drug. I’m still here, my high cholesterol has not engulfed me, there are no signs (yet) of blocked arteries. This was MY decision based upon what I researched and MY assessment of the risks to me of not taking the statins- and Yes, I discussed my decision to delete statins and go ‘the natural products way’ with my doctor
    It is all about personal choices and alternatives.

  6. i did not see the programme, but have quit taking my statins as well because of the side affects, this is the second type i have tried and both have debilitating side affects….. yes i do think we choose to believe most of what we see and we do not question who is behind it!

  7. Well being open to what’s been written by so many about so much for years I have thought about this for years. Butter/marg salt eggs coffee this thing that thing true false licorice this chicken beef milk – my goodness it goes on and on. HRT is another one! Thanks for another point of view

  8. I always research everything and look at every angle and make up my own mind. It’s my own body and I know it better than anyone else. We are all different and what suits one may not suit another. Always question everything and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.

  9. I think it depends on the person a lot of people I know research information do not run with fads without looking into it further.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *