Statins: More than just lowering cholesterol?

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FILE: Statins. (Credit: WINK News)

Statins are often the first line of defense when battling high cholesterol. More than 200 million people around the world are taking a daily dose for their heart health. But did you know that statins may also be good for your brain?

Some call it the wonder drug. Not only can statins lower cholesterol levels, but they’re also known as a risk-reduce.

“Statins have had a remarkable impact on preventing and reducing the burden of heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in men and women,” says Baylor Scott & White Research Institute doctor, Dr. Anandita Agarwala Kulkarni.

But statins may have an impact on your brain health.

Dr. Kulkarni reassures, “We hope to find out whether taking a statin will be beneficial in older adults with regards to dementia.”

In the largest study of its kind, a nationwide research team is enrolling 20,000 people for their Preventable study, to find out if taking Atorvastatin, also known as Lipitor, can help older adults live better, and longer by preventing new dementia, new disability, and heart disease.

“Preventable is unique in that we’re targeting adults at or above the age of 75 years. We’re also focusing on an important metric, like cognitive function, that hasn’t systematically been assessed in this manner,” Dr. Kulkarni explains.

Participants will randomly be assigned to a statin or a placebo and then researchers will follow the patients for up to five years, testing their memory, thinking and physical abilities.

The question they want answering, “Do people over 75, without heart disease, benefit from taking a statin?” The answer may impact how we all age in the future.

More than 100 centers are involved in the Preventable study. Much of the study will be conducted by phone and email, and through normal doctor’s visits and health records – even the medication will be delivered by mail. Any healthy adult at or above the age of 75 years can potentially participate in this study.

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