The Nation's Health + [Heart disease reversal]

Heart disease reversal: "There must be a mistake"

Neal is our current male record holder for greatest reduction in heart scan score. (Yes, the ladies have the lead!)

You may remember that this 40-year old man reduced his heart scan score from 339 to 161--a 51% drop. If you haven't yet read his story, go to

http://www.healthcare.gov/library/fl_07-001nealt51.asp

Neal reminded me of the experience he had when he underwent his second heart scan. Both scans had been performed at the same scanning center. At this center, the radiologists provide the added service of sitting down with people and actually going over the images and results.

After the scan, the radiologist pulled up the result from Neal's first scan for comparison. "There must be a mistake! This score is lower. Scores never drop."

The radiologist was apparently stumped, unable to provide an explanation. However, Neal then proceeded to tell the radiologist that we had warned Neal that this could happen and that he might even be told that it was due to error of some sort. This yielded a puzzled look on the radiologist but no further comment.

Of course it's not a mistake. It's something we achieve on purpose. Curiously, I still get comments that this is impossible, heart scan scores never drop, etc. Of course, those of you following this conversation know this is completely untrue. Heart scan scores DO drop, and sometimes drop enormous amounts, as it did for Neal.

I would have liked the radiologist to have had the lightbulb of understanding go off in his head when he realized that a reduction in heart scan score is a cause for celebration. Unfortunately, this radiologist's reaction is all too common: disbelief, confusion, dismissal.

Heart disease reversal is simply not in the realm of understanding of most doctors, radiologists and cardiologists alike. By conventional thought, if you have it, it just gets worse. "Maybe some high-dose Lipitor might help."

Ironically, when they see it right in front of their eyes, plain as day on the computer screen, they don't understand what has happened. It's Greek to them.

Should this happen to you, don't be surprised. Just bite your tongue, because you know better.