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Statin use is associated with a 1% to 12% increased risk of Alzheimer’s
Friday, May 04, 2018 12:02 pm Email this article
Statin use is associated with a 1% to 12% increased risk of Alzheimer’s according to an analysis of data on 30,343,035 persons aged 40 to 65 years between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2012 as noted in an article on Medscape (Melville, 2016).
Melville NA. Statin Use Linked to Increased Parkinson’s Risk. American Neurological Association (ANA) 2016 Annual Meeting, Presented October 16, 2016; Abstract S137: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/870996.
The article on Medscape notes:
“We identified 20,000 Parkinson’s disease patients and looked at whether using statins was associated with a higher or lower risk, and we found people using statins have a higher risk of the disease, so this is the opposite of what has been hypothesized,” senior author Xuemei Huang, MD, PhD, vice chair for research at Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania, told Medscape Medical News.
The same is true for Alzheimer’s — it’s the opposite of what has been hypothesized.
(The same research group found that statin use was found to be associated with a 58% increased risk of Parkinson’s.)
Statin prevalence in U.S. increased 42% over 8-9 years
Statin prevalence in U.S. increased 42% from 2003-2012
A paper from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published in 2014 notes that statin use increased by 42% — from 16.3% to 23.2% — over 8 or 9 years, from 2003-2004 to 2011-2012.
Another paper from the CDC published in 2017 notes that deaths from Alzheimer’s in the U.S. increased by 54% over a 15-year period, from 1999-2014.
A number of papers have claimed that statins help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but this does not seem to be true, and, in fact, the opposite may be true — that statins increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Another study by Rea, et al. (2005) found that people who had ever used a statin had a 21% increased risk of Alzheimer’s compared to people who had never used a statin or any other lipid-lowering agent, but this difference was not statistically significant, but the direction is still clear: statins do not lower the risk of Alzheimer’s, and they appear to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Rea TD, Breitner JC, Psaty BM, Fitzpatrick AL, Lopez OL, Newman AB, Hazzard WR, Zandi PP, Burke GL, Lyketsos CG, Bernick C, and Kuller LH. Statin use and the risk of incident dementia: the Cardiovascular Health Study. Arch Neurol, 2005 Jul; 62(7): 1047-1051.
Author’s Contact Info
T. D. Rea
Department of Medicine
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98101, USA
Review paper suggests statins may induce Alzheimer’s
Statins may induce Alzheimer’s notes review paper on statins
A 2015 review paper by Atta titled “Exploring the Relationship between Statins and Alzheimer’s Disease: Can Statins Really Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?” states that,
“There has been extensive research on Alzheimer’s and many studies claim that statins, a cholesterol-reducing drug, can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease resulting in low levels of beta-amyloid.
“However, there are several reasons to believe that this is not true and in some cases statins may even induce [Alzheimer’s Disease].”
In the conclusion he says:
“It has been proven from many research sources that statins are not very good at preventing Alzheimer’s Disease.
“In fact, there is very little correlation between statins and decreasing levels of beta-amyloid proteins, a marker used to diagnose [Alzheimer’s Disease].
“Some argue that statins may even cause a statin-induced dementia because axons are covered by fatty membranes and help with cognitive activity.
“Statins, especially ones that cross the blood-brain barrier, can do harm to axons by lowering the circulating levels of fatty acids and cholesterol, which provide insulation of axons.
“In addition, the statistical growing number of statin users and the rise in prevalence of Alzheimer’s contradict the theory that statins decrease Alzheimer’s.
“It appears that statins have very little effect on preventing Alzheimer’s and there is a definite possibility that it may even induce [Alzheimer’s Disease].”
Atta M. Exploring the Relationship between Statins and Alzheimer’s Disease: Can Statins Really Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease? Advances in Alzheimer’s Disease, 2015; 4: 10-14.
Author’s Contact Info
College of Medicine
American University of Antigua
St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
Each 100 mg/day of cholesterol associated with 10% lower risk of dementia
Each 0.5 eggs/day associated with 11% lower risk of dementia
A paper on dietary cholesterol and egg intake and risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s (Ylilauri, et al, 2017) found during a 21.9 year follow-up, each 100 mg of dietary cholesterol was associated with a 10% lower risk of dementia, and each 0.5 eggs per day (containing roughly 100 mg of cholesterol) was associated with an 11% lower risk of dementia.
These differences were not quite statistically significant, but were very close — close enough for me.
Ylilauri MP, Voutilainen S, Lonnroos E, Mursu J, Virtanen HE, Koskinen TT, Salonen JT, Tuomainen TP, and Virtanen JK. Association of dietary cholesterol and egg intakes with the risk of incident dementia or Alzheimer disease: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin Nutr, 2017 Jan 04; Epub ahead of print.
Author’s Contact Info
H. E. Virtanen Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition University of Eastern Finland Kuopio, Finland firstname.lastname@example.org
High cholesterol late in life associated with 55-80% lower risk of dementia!
A paper titled “High total cholesterol levels in late life associated with a reduced risk of dementia” found that increasing cholesterol levels by 39 mg/dL (one mmol/L) was associated with a 23-30% reduced risk of dementia between ages 70 and 88.
Comparing the one-fourth the people with the highest cholesterol levels to the one-fourths of people with the lowest cholesterol levels, they found that, people with the highest cholesterol levels at the age of 70 had a 69% lower risk of dementia.
At the age of 75, people with the highest cholesterol levels had an 80% lower risk of dementia.
At the age of 79, people with the highest cholesterol levels had an 55% lower risk of dementia.
Mielke MM, Zandi PP, Sjogren M, Gustafson D, Ostling S, Steen B, and Skoog I. High total cholesterol levels in late life associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Neurology, 2005 May 24; 64(10): 1689-1695.
Author’s Contact Info
M. M. Mielke
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
D ivision of Geriatric Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Bayview-Alpha Commons Building, 4 floor-Room 454
Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
Conclusion: Should statins be given to older people? No!
Should statins or other cholesterol-lowering drugs be given to older people?
No, absolutely not!
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