Could statins prevent dementia?

A new nationwide Taiwanese study has found that statins can prevent dementia in older people. Dr Tin-Tse Lin from Taiwan presented the study of nearly 58,000 patients. The results showed that high potency statins had the strongest protective effects against dementia.

The study looked at new-onset, non-vascular dementia in an older population. It looked at the 57,669 patients covered by Taiwan’s National Health Insurance who had no previous history of dementia. All participants in the study were aged 65 and over. During the 4.5 year follow up there were 5516 new cases of dementia reported. Participants were broken into groups based on their statin intake, as well as their mean daily equivalent dose and total (across the entire follow up period) equivalent dose.

Dr Lin said of the results, “Patients who received the highest total equivalent doses of statins had a three-fold decrease in the risk of developing dementia. Similar results were found with the daily equivalent statin dose.” He went on to explain, “It was the potency of the statins, rather than their solubility (lipophilic or hydrophilic), which was a major determinant in reducing dementia. 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 … almost all the statins (except lovastatin) decreased the risk for new onset-dementia when taken at higher daily doses.”

While this may seem like wonderful news, it should be noted that there is growing concern about the side effects of statins, which you can find out more about in the article Cholesterol medication controversy.

You can read more about the new Taiwanese study at the ScienceDaily website. If you have any questions or concerns about your medication it is important to speak to your GP before making any changes.