Love and Cholesterol

Love and Cholesterol

AKA “The Rabbit Study”

When I was in school in the mid 1980’s, a professor told us about an interesting study.  Unfortunately, I didn’t write down the source or the authors, but I do remember the story.

In a research facility at a university in the US, a drug manufacturer prepared to begin testing a new cholesterol-lowering drug prior to its release to the buying public.

A special breed of rabbits, prone to high cholesterol, was to be used for the testing.  They were fed a special diet specially designed to spike their cholesterol levels for the study.

The day before the testing was to begin; the researchers tested the rabbits to ensure that the cholesterol readings were sufficiently high.  But one group of the rabbits hadn’t reached the desired levels.  It baffled the researchers.

The rabbits had all been in the same environment and fed exactly the same food.  Why was this one small group different?

After substantial investigation, the researchers discovered that the low-cholesterol group had all been located in cages at eye-level.  When the feeders came around, they tended to take this group out, hold them, talk to them and pet them lovingly.  It was the only difference in this group.

To test this theoretical finding, they reproduced the study in 15 other university settings and it produced identical results.  The group that was taken out of the cages and petted lovingly at feeding time always had lower cholesterol levels.

You’ll probably never see that study on a statin-drug commercial because it suggests something that can help us approach cholesterol control from a more natural approach.

What’s that? Have somebody take you out of your cage every day to love you, talk to you and pet you!  It may be one of the reasons why married people statistically live longer!


Dr. Rick Boatright, D.C.

(928) 243-5665

See Dr. Boatright’s books at

Women’s Heart Attacks

Women’s Heart Issues

Over the past few years, a friend … who is scientist … and I have discussed literature about how women’s heart attacks are different from men’s.  It turns out that female arteries are more elastic and flexible than those of men. So those arteries expand more easily and let SOME blood flow through rather than completely blocking off.

Consequently, the chest-crushing pain that guys experience with dramatic heart events doesn’t necessarily happen with women.  Instead, women may just feel chronically tired, weak, and maybe a bit “blurry-brained.”  In advanced stages of heart issues, women may develop a cough and chest congestion. But actual pain may not be part of the picture at all.

So it’s easy to overlook serious heart issues in women, who tend to push themselves anyway.

For instance, a week before I wrote this post, a patient of mine had been coughing heavily for several days and decided to stay home from work.  Later, I went to check on her.  She was coughing worse, slightly disoriented and shaking.

We decided she should go to the local urgent care facility, thinking she may have a case of pneumonia.  Flu was going around and lots of people were reporting pneumonia with this flu.  After five minutes in the urgent care facility however, they rushed her to the hospital … red lights and sirens … with heart issues PLUS pneumonia.

She was in ICU for four days.  Then they put a couple of stents in her heart and kept her a few more days.  They saved her life, even if she will have to use some prescriptions for a while.

If you’ve read many of my blog-posts over the years, you know that I encourage taking the most conservative path toward establishing and maintain health.  There are so many surgeries in this country that are unnecessary and so many drugs that should be taken only after we’ve explored all other avenues and found them short.

However, there comes a time when we do have to call on doctors who excel the most at emergency measures … medical doctors.  They do save lots of lives in dire circumstances.

But the primary reason I wanted to write this post is to warn women that just because you don’t have crushing chest pain or pain shooting down your left arm, you can’t rule out serious heart issues.  Be alert and be diligent.  Know what the signs are for female heart issues are and act on your hunches before they get to be crises.


Dr. Rick Boatright, D.C.

See Dr. Boatright’s books at