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Statin use associated with reduced Alzheimer’s risk, major study finds

Taking statins may reduce patients’ risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study.

The study, published this week in JAMA, found that taking statins frequently was associated with a 15% decrease in Alzheimer’s disease risk for women and 12% for men.

Data from just under 400,000 statin users in the US were pooled to determine the effect that taking regular statins had on developing this form of dementia.

The associations between statin use and decreased Alzheimer’s disease risk varied by statin type, gender and race, with simvastatin conferring a decreased risk in white men and women, Hispanic men and women and black women, and atorvastatin associated with decreased risk in and Hispanic men and women and white women.

However, black men had no significant risk reduction associated with any of the statins looked at in the study.

The authors of the study recommended that given these findings, doctors should tailor statin use to the individual patient, but experts warned more research was needed before this was put into practice.

The report said: ‘Because statins may affect Alzheimer's disease risk, physicians should consider which statin is prescribed to each patient.

‘The right statin type for the right person at the right time may provide a relatively inexpensive means to lessen the burden of Alzheimer’s disease.’

The Alzheimer’s Society praised the large data set but warned that more research is needed in this area.

It said: ‘Their data does not provide direct evidence that statins can influence dementia risk – this question will need to be answered by clinical trials.

'The results found cannot yet be applied to the doctor’s surgery, but could be used to improve the design of clinical trials that can help to answer the complicated questions around statin use and dementia risk.'

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