Research Indicates Some Statin Drugs Protect Against Alzheimers And Cataracts
Though some research has previously indicated that statin users may lower their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by taking the drug, a Taiwanese study looked at the relationship on a very large scale, studying the effects of statins on Alzheimer's risk in more than one million subjects. This study, as well as another meta-study on the effects of statins on the risk for cataracts, was presented in reports to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) over the past weekend.
Dr. Tin-Tse Lin tracked a random sample of more than one million patients, who had no history of Alzheimer's disease, for 5 years. His research found that of those patients who took prescription statin drugs, about 5,500 persons, those with the strongest prescriptions had about three times more protection against Alzheimer's than those who were not on statins.
"It was the potency of the statins rather than their solubility (lipophilic or hydrophilic) which was a major determinant in reducing dementia," Dr. Lin reported. "High potency statins such as atorvastatin and rosuvastatin showed a significant inverse association with developing dementia in a dose-response manner. Higher doses of high potency statins gave the protective effects against dementia."
It should be noted that all statins tested, except for lovastatin, had a dose dependent impact on reduction of dementia.
John B Kostis of Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School reported on another meta analysis, this time of 14 studies showing that statin use has protective effects on patients' development of cataracts. This effect was most pronounced in patients under 50 years of age who took statin drugs; in this population, it was estimated that up to 20 percent of the population avoided getting cataracts by their use of statins; the longer they took statins the less their chances of developing cataracts.
Though most statin users take the medication to lower their cholesterol levels, thereby trying to prevent heart attacks and stroke, recent research has supported the benefits of statin medication on inflammatory diseases of the heart and even the risk of prostate cancer.