Stockholm. Today at the 8th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, Robert Green of Boston University School of Public Health presented another piece of evidence in the story of statin use to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease. Two previous reports have hinted that people who take statins to lower their plasma cholesterol might be at lower risk for cognitive decline, but researchers agree these papers need to be followed up by larger studies.

Green presented unpublished data of a new analysis of an observational, family-based case-control study of 2,378 people at 15 research centers, the first epidemiological investigation of statin in AD to include significant numbers of African American subjects. This is the largest epidemiological study of statins in AD to date, Green said.

Green, Lindsay Farrer, and colleagues found that family members of patients with AD who took statins had a 39 percent lower risk of developing AD than those not on statin. Interestingly, cholesterol-lowering agents other than statins did not show this association, suggesting that at least part of the apparent effect of statin on cognition is mediated through the drug’s inflammatory and perhaps other functions.—Gabrielle Strobel


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