27 April 2009

New Cochrane Review on statins

Statins do not help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, review finds
Health Behaviour News Service: 14 April 2009
An increasing number of studies show that elevated serum cholesterol levels might be part of the cause of Alzheimer disease, but a new review of studies says that, even so, the most successful class of cholesterol-lowering medicines will not stave off the condition.

Statins includes medications such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and pravastatin (Pravachol), which are some of the best-selling drugs in the world.

The drugs lower cholesterol by inhibiting a key enzyme used by the body to make it, which decreases cholesterol formation and helps reduce the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol).

Biomedical and epidemiological studies showing the relationship between elevated cholesterol and Alzheimer disease have caused scientists to wonder if these medications could lower the risk of developing the disease, which is the most common cause of dementia. For example, in studies using animals, the expression of Alzheimer symptoms slowed with lowered cholesterol, giving hope that the same might be true for humans.

The new review appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews like this one draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic. … > full story

View past Alzheimer's News stories on statins

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