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Statin use is associated with a 61% greater risk of Parkinson’s disease
Thursday, January 05, 2017 2:00 pm Email this article
Statin use is associated with a 61% greater risk of Parkinson’s disease according to an analysis of data on 30,343,035 people aged 40 to 65 years between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2012.
This was after adjusting for age, sex, and other comorbidities, such as hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, and coronary artery disease.
“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.
“Our study suggests that lowering cholesterol unnecessarily actually may harm the brain,” Xuemei Huang, MD, PhD lead author of the study was quoted as saying.
Previous research has failed to recognize this or reported the opposite, that statins lower the risk of Parkinson’s, because previous studies have failed to adjust for cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol and Parkinson’s
High total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol helps protect against Parkinson’s
“We know that overall weight of the literature favors that higher cholesterol is associated with beneficial outcomes in Parkinson’s disease, so it’s possible that statins take away that protection by treating the high cholesterol,” Dr Huang explained.
Dr. Huang was previously quoted as saying “We confirmed our previous finding that high total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were associated with a lower risk of [Parkinson’s Disease].”
Statins inhibit CoQ10 which may increase the risk
“Another possibility is that statins can block not only the cholesterol synthesis but also synthesis of coenzyme Q10 that is essential for cell function.”
Note: A 2002 study found that large doses of CoQ10 (1200 mg/day) slowed progression of Parkinson’s by nearly half (by 44%). Statins inhibit production of CoQ10 by the same amount that they inhibit cholesterol (30-50%), so this would have the opposite effect accelerating the onset of Parkinson’s. My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1997, so I have had an interest in the research since then.
Risk by length of statin use
Risk highest during first year of use
The highest risk was linked to the earlier period after starting statins: 1.9-times increased risk for less than 1 year of use; 1.8-times increased risk for 1 to 2.5 years; and 1.4-times increased risk for 2.5 years or more.
Other research has claimed the opposite
Other studies have claimed that statins reduce the risk of Parkinson’s, but this research shows that this is not true.
I believe that this (false) claim that statins protect against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s) is due to a manipulation of the data which I believe is case for all statin studies and statin analyses.
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
Author’s Contact Info
Xuemei Huang, MD, PhD
Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Neurology
Penn State College of Medicine
Penn State Hershey Neurology
30 Hope Drive, Building B, Suite 1300
Hershey, Pennsylvania USA
Tel: 800-243-1455 / 717-531-3828 / (717) 531-3828
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