Some scientists say statins aren't helping Alzheimer's patients

A review of recent studies detailing a possible link between cholesterol levels and dementia finds that in Alzheimer's care, one class of cholesterol-lowering drugs won't have an effect on preventing the neurological disorder.

Statins are a popular class of drugs used to fight cholesterol, including brand name drugs like Lipitor, Zocor and Pravachol, but lead author Bernadette McGuinness says that several clinical trials involving more than 20,000 patients didn't demonstrate any benefits of the drugs on cognition or reduction of the incidence of Alzheimer's disease.

"Statins have a range of mechanisms that could help or hurt cognition," said Dr Beatrice Golomb, M.D.

Some scientists say statins aren't helping Alzheimer's patients "Regarding statins as preventive medicines, there are a number of individual cases in case reports and case series where cognition is clearly and reproducibly adversely affected by statins."

McGuinness did note, though, that the studies reviewed did not specifically target dementia reduction, nor did they follow younger patients who still may benefit from the effects of lower cholesterol

In some studies using animal tests, symptoms of the disease were slowed when cholesterol levels were reduced.

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