Statins May Not Fight Dementia
Researchers Say Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs May Not Help Against Alzheimer's
WebMD News Archive
July 11, 2005 -- Statins and other popular cholesterol-lowering drugs may
help your heart, but they may not protect your brain from age-related diseases
such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease, a new study shows.
The most common types of dementia include Alzheimer's disease and dementias
resulting from blood vessel abnormalities. Some evidence supports the role of
cholesterol metabolism and inflammation in the development of dementia,
specifically Alzheimer's disease, the researchers write.
The researchers evaluated whether statins' cholesterol-lowering and
anti-inflammation effects delay or reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and
other types of dementia.
The results of this new study show no such benefits in a large group of
older adults who used statins. Yet the researchers add that had the use of
these medications been initiated earlier the results of the study may have been
The study appears in the July issue of the Archives of
Statins May Not Stall Dementia
In the study, researchers compared the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other
types of dementia in stain users with those who had never used statins in a
group of nearly 2,800 adults over age 65. All of the participants were free of
dementia when they entered a heart disease study from 1991 to 1994 and were
tested annually for signs of dementia.
During the follow-up period more than 480 cases of dementia, including 245
cases of Alzheimer's, were diagnosed.
After researchers accounted for other known or suspected risk factors for
dementia, they found that people who had ever used statins had no reduction in
their risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease compared with those
who had never used cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Researchers say several factors may explain why the use of statins was not
associated with a lower risk of dementia in this study.
For example, the average age of the study participants was 75, and their
statin use was assessed for about five years. It's possible that the use of
statins earlier in adulthood or for a longer period may have different affects
on dementia risk.
Therefore, they say more study is needed to determine whether and for whom
statin use may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of