Statins May Not Protect Against Alzheimer's
> 1/18/2008 11:32:01 AM

Previous research has indicated that statins, common cholesterol-lowering drugs, may slow the mental decline caused by Alzheimer's, but a recent study does not support this theory. Published in the journal Neuroscience, this study of over 900 subjects found that statins offered no protection from the mental ravages of Alzheimer's.

Dr. Zoe Arvanitakis and a team of researchers from Rush University Medical center followed 929 Catholic clergy, participants in the Religious Orders Study, over the course of 12 years. The subjects averaged 75 years of age at the beginning of the study, and none had been diagnosed with dementia. They received cognitive and neurological evaluations annually. At the study's start, 119 people used statins, and by the study's end, 191 people had developed Alzheimer's. Only 16 of those 191 had been taking statins, but the researchers found no association between statin use and the development of Alzheimer's. People taking statins were not less likely to develop Alzheimer's, and statin use also had no effect on their overall cognitive abilities. At the study's start, all participants had agreed to a brain autopsy following death, and the researchers were able to examine the brain structures of 262 participants, 47 of whom had used statins. These examinations showed that statin use had no effect on the development of plaques and tangles, a definitive indication of Alzheimer's, in the brain.

Researchers have been studying the connection between statins and Alzheimer's for years. Some theorize that cholesterol plays a role in the development of Alzheimer's, in which case drugs that lower cholesterol may be helpful in staving off mental decline. Others suggest that inflammation in the brain contributes to Alzheimer's, and statins, which reduce inflammation, lower an individual's risk. So far, many studies have examined the relationship between statins and Alzheimer's, but the results have been mixed. While many researchers have observed a protective quality associated with statins, others have refuted those claims.

This most recent study was not free from limitations. The researchers caution that because there were few statin-users among those who died, their study may not have picked up on subtle connections between statins and the underlying brain changes associated with Alzheimer's. Researchers will continue to investigate the relationship between statins and Alzheimer's, and future studies may result in a clearer understanding of how different factors contribute to Alzheimer's as well as how statins affect an individual's likelihood of developing Alzheimer's.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy