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Heart statin drugs: the next great hope?

Heart statin drugs: the next great hope?


Six scientists in Taiwan have discovered that the higher the dosage of statins and the longer the patients took them, the greater the potential for staving off dementia.

According to the U.K. paper, The Daily Express:

“Researchers from the National Taipei Medical University and the National Yang-Ming University, both in Taiwan, found that patients who were prescribed the drugs at any time were 22 per cent less likely to suffer brain problems than those who never took them.”

“Women saw the greatest benefit, with the risk reduced by 24 per cent”: a significant number.

But it’s not a miracle cure in a heart pill, just yet. The medical community is quick to point out that the statins study demonstrates a very promising trend, but it’s still early days.

The U.K. health website NHS Choices describes the study as a population-based “cohort study that included more than 33,000 people aged over 60 years from Taiwan, and looked back at whether dementia developed in people who were and were not prescribed statins.”

“The main limitation of this study, as with all cohort studies, is that it can demonstrate an association, but it cannot definitely prove cause and effect,” reported NHS.

Patients prescribed the drugs at any time were 22 per cent less likely to suffer brain problems than those who never took them.

Statins are commonly prescribed cholesterol-reducing drugs, marketed under the brand names Lipitor, Zocor and Pravachol, among others.

This study is a boost for statins, which had become a controversial hot potato among cardiologists and their patients when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about memory problems with short-term use, in February 2012.

The question of whether statins can cause cognition problems was put to rest in October 2013, when a team at Johns Hopkins conducted an extensive review of 41 studies, and found statins posed no threat to short-term memory.

The breakthrough Taiwan findings were published in February 2014 in PlosOne, the journal of the Public Library of Science.

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