CRP is only a marker and does not cause disease
Posted by Colin Rose on October 29, 2008
Dr. Paul Ridker, the inventor of a method for sensitively measuring C-reactive protein, has made a career and much money flogging the notion that C-Reactive protein, produced in the liver in response to various physiological stresses like inflammation and abdominal obesity, is the cause of atherosclerosis and must be treated. Ridker’s web site promotes the wonderful benefits of measuring hsCRP and “treating” it with drugs, most notably statins. He has been successful in convincing most cardiologists and family doctors that hsCRP is and essential measurement in assessing “risk”. However, there was never any proof that doing so would prolong life or prevent any disease.
But a clever non-American group in Copenhagen, remembering the basic rule that correlation is not causation, refused to be intimidated by Ridker’s arrogant, industry-funded propaganda and showed that people with genetic abnormalities that raise blood hsCRP without inflammation do not have more atherosclerosis. Like blood cholesterol, CRP is just another marker of an atherogenic lifestyle and excess visceral fat. Both of these responses to nutritional stress may actually be protective.
As a corollary we can also conclude that “treating” blood hsCRP with statins is futile.
In case Ridker’s web site is taken down in embarrassment, here is what Ridker’s site looks like so that posterity can see an example of the destruction of another profitable medical myth.