Alzheimer’s Society responds to new research suggesting dementia risk is reduced by cholesterol- lowering statins

Alzheimer’s Society responds to new research suggesting dementia risk is reduced by cholesterol- lowering statins

New research published today (12 December 2016) suggests that use of cholesterol- lowering statins was associated with a reduced risk of dementia, but the effects were dependent on a person’s gender and ethnicity. 

The study, published online by JAMA Neurology, also found that dementia risk varied by type of statin used. These results still need to be confirmed in clinical trials.

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society said: 'Previous research has attempted to find out whether using statins to lower cholesterol can alter a person’s risk of developing dementia but these studies have produced mixed findings. This new study goes some way towards clearing up this confusion by analysing large amounts of existing data of people who use different types of statins over a long period of time. Their refreshing approach highlights that ‘one size fits all’ is not always a suitable approach to healthcare and this is likely to be the case when it comes to ways people can reduce their risk of dementia. However, 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.

'Currently there is not enough evidence that statin use can reduce your risk of dementia, but you should keep an eye on your cholesterol levels as keeping them in check will help to combat other conditions such as heart disease and stroke. We advise people to speak to their GP if they have any questions about cholesterol, statin use and dementia risk before making any decisions about their medications.'

Find out more about reducing your risk of dementia.