New Thinking About Alzheimer's Treatment
Current therapies are the triumph of hope over experience.
The State of Statins?
Observations that there appears to be an association between
the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins and a lower incidence of
Alzheimer's disease have prompted researchers to see whether these drugs could
also help prevent it. As reported by WebMD, several studies presented at the
conference here point to a link between heart disease risk factors and AD.
Statins also have anti-inflammatory effects that could be beneficial for
Alzheimer's disease patients, and there is intriguing evidence indicating that
the drugs may help to reduce the production of beta amyloid.
Yet to date, evidence about statins and Alzheimer's disease
prevention has been mixed, and at least one study presented at the meeting
suggests that the drugs may be less effective in people who have inherited a
form of a gene that is associated with increased risk for AD and early-onset
"Whether eliminating the amyloid is going to eliminate the
clinical picture, we don't know," Khatchaturian tells WebMD about current
Alzheimer's disease research. "We have to start somewhere, but we may wind
up with a big disappointment. That's science. There's no certainty. But
compared to the amount of things we didn't know, compared to the total field of
10, 15, 20 years ago, I'm like a kid in a toy store."
Originally published July 23, 2004.
Medically updated April 6, 2005.