Traditionally, statins - the medicine which helps lower the level of high-risk cholesterol - have been used to treat people suffering or at risk from heart disease and strokes, but a large survey of over 50,000 people has found that they may be used in the fight against dementia.
The study then discovered that people who were taking a high level of statins had only one-third the chance of developing dementia compared with people who weren't on the medicine.
HOW TO PREVENT DEMENTIA:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Do not drink too much alcohol
- Stop smoking (if you smoke)
- Make sure you keep your blood pressure at a healthy level
At present in the UK, dementia is a key concern. Secretary of state Jeremy Hunt blogged on HuffPost UK saying: "Currently there are 670,000 people diagnosed with the condition in this country alone, and this number is set to double over the next 30 years."
InternalMedicineNews.com reported experts as saying that the findings add another piece to the statin-dementia puzzle and may alleviate some of the concerns with the so-called "brain fog" effect of statins.
Dr Tin-Tse Lin, reported The Daily Mail, who presented the findings at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Amsterdam said risks were reduced with increased total or daily dosages of the drug.
"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 dosage."
57,9 people aged 65-years-old were studied in 1997 and 1998. Dr Lin added: "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."
The good news is that if statins are able to reduce dementia as well as heart disease, it is a very cheap way of doing so - at present it can cost less than 10p for the NHS per day. Experts in cardiology have recommended that all over 50s should have statins because of their effectiveness at lowering cholesterol, but others say more work is needed to determine the side effects of the tablets.
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