The study found that taking statins was associated with a 79-percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimers disease, according to the studys lead author, neurologist and epidemiologist Robert C. Green, MD, MPH, of Boston University School of Medicine.
This study confirms and extends previous reports and is the largest study on this topic in the U.S., Green said. It is also the first to include a large number of African-American families.
Researchers studied 2,581 people from more than 800 families, enrolled over six years at 15 medical centers. They examined risk factors and medication history in 912 people with probable or definite Alzheimers disease and 1,669 of their family members who did not have dementia. The results were adjusted for age, sex, education, and history of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
The relationship between statins and risk of Alzheimers was no different for people with the gene variant associated with an increased risk of Alzheimers, apolipoprotein E ?4, or apoE-?4. The relationship between statins and Alzheimers was also the same for whites as it was for African Americans, who have a higher risk of developing the disease.
Statins lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by blocking the production of a liver enzyme used by the body to make cholesterol. In this study, cholesterol-lowering drugs other than statins were not associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimers. There was also no difference between the use of natural and synthetic statins.