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Do Statins Accelerate the Onset of Dementia?

Although scientists have yet to pinpoint the direct cause, drops in total cholesterol levels may precede the onset of dementia by a minimum 15 years, perhaps another sign pushing healthy patients to take statins -- among America's best selling medications -- is no more than a health-harming scam.

Researchers compared the health of 56 men diagnosed with dementia three years after their last cholesterol measurement against more than 950 male patients without dementia, over a 26-year period. Although cholesterol levels didn't vary much at the beginning of the study, the later decline in cholesterol levels was steepest among patients who eventually developed dementia.

The strongest links scientists found between declining cholesterol levels and dementia: Poor health at the final cholesterol measurement and the presence of the APOE epsilon-4 allele.

Of course, researchers claimed the sharp drop in cholesterol levels had nothing to do with taking a statin drug. Considering the growing number of Lipitor lawsuits citing lasting physical damage, however, it makes you wonder if statin drugs may have the same effect as hormone replacement therapy does to a woman's breast cancer risks.

Archives of Neurology, Vol. 64, No. 1, January 2007: 103-107

Medscape January 19, 2007 Registration Required