September 3, 2013
Statins Could Help Reduce Risk Of Dementia, Prevent Cataracts
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
An inexpensive and commonly used cholesterol medication could be used to prevent cataracts and reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia, according to research presented over the weekend at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Amsterdam.In one study, Dr. Tin-Tse Lin and colleagues studied nearly 58,000 Taiwanese patients, and found taking high-potency statins reduced their risk of developing neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease by two thirds, according to Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent with The Telegraph.
Dr. Lin’s team initially examined a random sample of one million patients, all of whom had no history of dementia, and tracked them for approximately five years, Donnelly said. Those who had prescriptions for the drugs, which are used to prevent heart attacks and strokes, had one-third the chance of developing the condition over that period.
“Previous studies had considered statin therapy to exert a beneficial effect on dementia. But few large-scale studies have focused on the impact of statins on new-onset, non-vascular dementia in the geriatric population,” Dr. Lin said in a statement. “The adjusted risks for dementia were significantly inversely associated with increased total or daily equivalent statin dosage. Patients who received the highest total equivalent doses of statins had a 3-fold decrease in the risk of developing dementia. Similar results were found with the daily equivalent statin dosage.”
“It was the potency of the statins rather than their solubility (lipophilic or hydrophilic) which was a major determinant in reducing dementia,” he continued. “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 strongest protective effects against dementia.”
“The results were consistent when analyzing daily doses of different kinds of statins. Almost all the statins (except lovastatin) decreased the risk for new onset dementia when taken at higher daily doses,” the doctor concluded. “To the best of our knowledge, this was the first large-scale, nation-wide study which examined the effect of different statins on new onset dementia (except vascular dementia) in an elderly population. We found that high doses of statins, particularly high potency statins, prevent dementia.”
Related research, also presented during the ESC Congress, showed that the commonly prescribed medications can also be used to prevent cataracts, which reportedly affect over 20 million people worldwide. In fact, according to the ESC, using statins can reduce the rate of cataracts by 20 percent, and when used in people under the age of 50 over the course of up to 14 years, it could cut the risk of cataracts in half.
“There is persistent concern among physicians and other health care providers about the possible cataractogenicity of statins,” explained Professor John B. Kostis of the Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “We therefore investigated the relationship of statins and cataracts in a meta-analysis of 14 studies selected after detailed review of the medical literature.”
“To our knowledge this is the first meta-analysis on the topic,” he added. “This meta-analysis indicates a statistically significant and clinically relevant protective effect of statins in preventing cataracts. The effect is more pronounced in younger patients, and with longer use. Our findings dispel worries about the safety of statins when it comes to cataracts, and lends additional support to long term statin use.”