19/11/2013 06:42 GMT | Updated 19/11/2013 06:42 GMT

Statins, That Prevent Heart Disease, May Not be Linked To Cognitive Decline

Last year, after the US Food and Drug administration issued a report saying that statins - which help reduce bad cholesterol - may be linked to cognitive decline, a new review has reversed the claims.

According to a study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, senior study author Dr Emil deGoma, medical director of the preventive cardiovascular program at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, some of the studies they reviewed showed that people taking statins actually reduce their risk for dementia by 13%, their risk for Alzheimer's disease by 21% and their risk for other mental problems by 35%. This was reported by HealthDay.

older person taking pill

Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said: “It’s natural that people may have been worried after hearing reports of a possible link between statins and memory decline, but this comprehensive review should go a long way to allay those fears.

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"By pulling together the best available evidence, reviews like this one can provide a much clearer picture of the benefits and side-effects of specific treatments. Research like this is vital for helping doctors make fully informed decisions about what treatments to prescribe. Anyone with questions or concerns about any medication they are taking should talk to their doctor.

Dr deGoma also added that doctors should not assume statins are to blame if someone taking them becomes forgetful. He said: "We may be doing more harm than good if we withhold or stop statins - medications proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke - due to fears that statins might possibly cause memory loss."

Yet work still needs to be done to discern more about dementia. Dr Ridley added: “Although the review highlights a link between statin use and a lower risk of dementia, we can’t say from this research that statins can prevent the condition. We still need to understand much more about the risk factors for dementia, and investment in research is vital to shed more light on this complex area."

To find out more about Alzheimer's, visit the Alzheimer's Research UK website or call 0300 111 5555.