50 Shades of Additional Benefits

After  a stroke, many of us are now on statins; as a drug they have had very mixed press over the past few years.

We have been prescribed these for their abilities to lower cholesterol levels which in turn reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, according to a recent study they may also have the ability to lower our risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Published in JAMA Neurology, this study highlights the link between high station use and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease although this is dependant on sex, race/ ethnicity and the type of statin used. Despite these findings it is said that it should be further investigated in clinical trials.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia; while great strides have been made to halt the progression of Alzheimers in recent years there is still some way to go. Just last month hopes were quashed regarding the first medication to slow down the progression of this condition when the candidate failed to reduce cognitive decline in a phase 3 trial.

Statins are prescribed to lower levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol, i.e. bad cholesterol, which can increase our risk of stroke or heart attack. Previous studies illustrate that high levels of cholesterol may be associated with the build up of beta-a loud plaques in the brain which are thought to be a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

The conclusion of studies carried out between 2009 to 2013 was that overall men and woman with high exposure to statins were 15 percent and 12 percent less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s respectively, compared to men and woman with low levels of exposure to the medication.

The current research illustrated no significant reduction in Alzheimer’s risk with the use of statin for black men but they do stress that this study is unable to prove cause and effect in all racial and ethnic groups to confirm their results.

The right statin type for the right person at the time may provide a relatively inexpensive means to reduce the burden of Alzheimer’s which has to be a positive. As a stroke survivor with no medical background I take a positive element from this this study as we know one studies suggest stroke survivors may possibly be at greater risk of developing such a condition, but I cannot help asking the question, how can we find out which statin is best suited for each of us in this way?

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