29 January 2008

Statin use does not stave off dementia

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may not prevent Alzheimer’s disease
EurekAlert!: 16 January 2008
Contrary to some reports, taking statins, which are cholesterol-lowering drugs, offers no protection against Alzheimer’s disease, according to research published in the January 16, 2008, online issue of Neurology… > full story : teaching brief

Read previous posts regarding the debate over the use of statins.

Comments from Alzheimer's Australia Research Officer, Suzanne Dixon: There has been much reported recently about the beneficial effect of statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) on dementia prevention and risk reduction. Some studies show that statins interfere with toxic beta-amyloid production in vitro and therefore Alzheimer’s progression. However, a new U.S. study (part of the Religious Orders study of 929 Catholic nuns, priests and brothers) has suggested these drugs neither lower the risk of mental decline, nor reduce the amount of toxic brain plaques upon autopsy.

The evidence surrounding these medications remains inconsistent, and there are several reasons to be cautious of these results. The sample size of statin users was actually quite small, weakening the reliability of the conclusion drawn. Also parallels to the general population are unclear, as health concerns, education levels, and lifestyles may be very different. More research still needs to be done, and results from clinical trials are anticipated soon; in the meantime, statins should continue to be used purely for their registered functions (lowering LDL cholesterol levels). (18 February 2008)

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