Looking Back on Ten Years of Skeptical Cardiology

As the ten year anniversary of his eponymous blog nears, the skeptical cardiologist has been pondering the best use of his rapidly dwindling time. Since the website was upgraded in August of 2020 prior statistics have vanished but in the two years since then, WordPress tells me I’ve had over a million views and more than 750K visitors.

I realize these numbers are insignificant compared to say, cat video websites, but I’m happy that my words have reached a significant number of discerning readers. It is most gratifying to have had over 6000 comments left on the blog, some highly complementary, a few highly critical, and most highly thought-provoking and informative. In addition, I’ve had hundreds of wonderful email conversations with readers, many of whom are now my patient or friend.

My “content” production has ramped up over the years, peaking in 2020, and declining precipitously this year. The average words per post just seems to keep climbing, most recently peaking at 1149 words this year.

Despite having more free time in my new hybrid cardiology practice, it seems I’ve only pumped out 21 posts in 2022 and I’m on track for my lowest output in 8 years.

My lack of production is not related to a lack of things I want to write about. Since 2014 I’ve published 580 posts, but have written another 600 or so posts that are in a draft format, remaining unpublished for various reasons, the most common being simply a lack of time.

I also feel like most of the topics in nutrition and cardiovascular disease that I have been most passionate about, especially those where the mainstream guidelines were wrong, I have already written about in detail.

Here are some of my recent draft post titles:

I really would like to get the pill-in-the-pocket anticoagulation post out, it is a wonderful alternative approach, but it will requires hours and hours of meticulous review of the data in this area. Similarly, I feel the post on the reasons behind the insanely high prices for asthma inhalers and the ways to get cheaper inhalers is really important but will have limited impact on most of my readers and my time commitment would be wasted.

The last draft post listed refers to Dr. Gundry having sent me two “cease and desist” letters. Fear of law suits, legal harassment or job-related concerns limit the publication of many posts.

Money, Bias, and the Scientific Method

I still make no money from The Skeptical Cardiologist. There are no ads. There are no backlinks or guest posts (that companies are constantly asking me to insert). There is no subscription fee. Big dairy is not secretly paying me to promote dairy fat. Big pharma could care less what I say about statins.

I’m still unbiased and approach every issue from a neutral standpoint, seeking only the truth. Because of this, it is entirely possible that with new scientific studies, further research and reading, the information I posted in old articles has become outdated or incorrect.

A good sign that one is dealing with a website that is truly devoted to the scientific method is that it is malleable: change is constant.

What I plan to do over the next few months is to look back on what I’ve written and identify what is still correct in those 580 articles and what is in need of updating. This will entail updating my knowledge base to some extent, but in the areas I am passionate about I am constantly reviewing the field and reading any new publications that might challenge or support what I’ve previously written.

We’ll start with my first post from 12/27/2012 entitled “Does Eating High-Fat Dairy Cause Heart Disease or Obesity?” It was more of a test of the WordPress post-writing process than anything for me but it did summarize the topic that made me become skeptical about guidelines in general.

I delivered a lecture to the cardiology fellows at Saint Louis University last week on “The Optimal Diet to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease.” (I hope to post the video of that here soon.) In preparation, I reviewed any and all relevant scientific papers, guideline recommendations and review articles. Several important studies have been published in the last 2 years which I haven’t touched on here. In my next post we’ll find out if my opinion on high-fat dairy and cardiovascular disease has changed in 10 years as a result.

Skeptically Yours,

-ACP

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21 thoughts on “Looking Back on Ten Years of Skeptical Cardiology”

  1. I read your posts with great interest – along with all of the other topics, I especially appreciate those about home monitoring devices. Review and discussion from a medical expert on this topic is extremely rare. Please keep up the good work!

    Reply
  2. I’d love to read the blog about Vitamin D if you get the time and energy. Got your latest e-mail. What’s this about Encinitas? Are you on the west coast now?

    Reply
    • Cheryl,
      Things are amazingly clear now on Vitamin D but I’ll factor your voice into the queue priority.
      I am in glorious Encinitas, CA for 8 months of the year.
      Dr P

      Reply
  3. Hello Dr Pearson
    As I am addicted to ghee and full fat raw milk brie }21% matiere grasse], and was looking forward to your revised blog on hi fat dairy and the heart, But it seems not to have been there when I clicked. I imagine you must have come across some interesting input at the last moment………….

    Reply
  4. I love your blog, including your musical knowledge! And I think a cease and desist from Gundry is a badge of honor. Many many thanks.

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  5. Dr. Pearson-
    Remembering your steady character in high school, I am inclined to respect your opinions, and very much value your emails showing up in my inbox. Thank you for all the time you spend in ferreting out what truth and good advice is to be had.
    Jeanne Doornbos

    Reply
  6. It’s difficult being an umpire in matters of science. Thankyou for giving your valued time. Thanyou for your sceptic wisdom. Northern Ontario.

    Reply
  7. Thank you so much! Based on your advice I purchased the Cardio mobile EKG. This allowed me, during a trip to London, to detect that I had Afib, to hypnotize that this was due to a lack of oxygen caused by wearing an N95 mask throughout the day, to switch to regular masks, and to continue enjoying my vacation! (I did catch Covid on that vacation, but that’s another story :)).

    Anyhow, I thank you and if open a “buy me coffee” option or similar I’ll enjoy supporting you!

    Or maybe collect your posts and sell them as a book on Amazon?

    Reply
  8. CONGRATULATIONS!
    10 years….wow they go fast….Regrettably I am late to the party as I was diagnosed with paroxysmal a fib about 4 years ago thus have been aware of SC about 3..(????) yet have probably had AF most of my life.
    But my great fortune was to finally discover YOU and since road cycling has become my cardio addiction of choice I felt doubly blessed to have found You.
    YOU are the reason I was able to deftly avoid numerous hard sell pitches on the miraculous benefits of INVASIVE ABLATIONS as the Gold Standard for “athletes” ( “OHHHH BEEEHave….I’m 68!) ….GOLD STANDARD INDEED….FOR THE PROVIDERS! (more like GOLDEN GOOSE delivering golden eggs)
    Because of you my AF is successfully managed with the minimum doses of Flec and Metropolol possible….yet some characterized Flec as potentially “dangerous” to instill doubt, I suspect….
    Your candid honest earnest opinions are refreshing and calming in this Brave New Fake New World.
    I’d gladly contribute to a more regularly published site where you can drill down on topics ….but FRANKLY….for all that you’ve done thus far….I’d rather see you spend the time out on the bike or catching waves …..
    You’ve gotten here the “old fashioned way”…..
    “YOU’VE EARNED IT”
    and your epitaph should read “ A Life WELL lived…He helped MANY”.

    Reply
  9. Although I was a bit discouraged in your opinion of Ford Brewer I respect your viewpoint and approach and absolutely look forward to new content from you. Looking forward to the video from your latest lecture keep up the good work please!

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  10. Dr. P – your articles, and your advice when I asked for it, have made a difference in my life and I am sure countless others. It wouldn’t be fair to ask you to keep it up. All I can say is – thank you. Rick Bayer

    Reply
  11. I sincerely hope you have the time to keep up this very informative blog. As a scientist with intermittent aFib, I very much appreciate the rigor with which you prepare your postings. Do not underestimate the good you have done for a wide range of people. Not everyone is blessed with such a caring, thoughtful and concise cardiologist!

    Reply
  12. I will eagerly await your post of the Pill in the Pocket anticoagulant. I am one of the lucky ones who knows when I am suffering an Afib/Aflutter event. I have had two ablationns and am currently taking Flecanide and Eliquis. I’ve been told I will have to stay on Eliquis the rest of my life. Eliquis bills Medicare $650/mo which means that my prescription drug coverage is exhausted by August.

    Reply
  13. I don’t think I have seen this on your blog. I had paroxysmal Afib for about 40 years and was cardioverted maybe 10 times. Two years ago my HR was into the 40’s at night so A pacemaker was put in to establish a 60 bpm floor. I haven’t had an episode since. However, my sick sinus syndrome is undoubtedly progressive and so my EP wanted me to stay anticoagulated – which I resisted. Our compromise is that I do a Kardia strip every evening before dinner and email it to myself. Then if I were to go into Afib I could go to the ER for cardioversion and easily prove I was in sinus rhythm in the last 24 hours.

    Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  14. As a regular reader, I can’t thank you enough for your informative – and entertaining – posts. As someone with well-controlled intermittent afib and a CHA2DS2-VASc score of 2, I’d love to read your thoughts on the “pill-in-the-pocket” approach. I’d be happy to trade my daily Eliquis for an alternative that makes sense.

    Reply
  15. Why not go to a substack format, where folks can opt for a free version, or pay for an extended version? You certainly deserve compensation for your time and depth of knowledge – I have personally benefitted from being a reader over these years, as I’m sure countless grateful others have. I used to have a manager who would say “Use your powers for good” and you certainly are!

    Reply

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