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Heart statins 'could prevent dementia'

Heart statins 'could prevent dementia'
14th April 2014

New research has suggested a treatment developed for heart disease could also prevent the onset of dementia.

Published in the International Journal of Cardiology, the report states the higher the dose and the longer people take heart statin pills, the better their chances of avoiding dementia are.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is now looking to introduce plans that will allow more people to have access to the pills, the Express reports.

More than 30,000 individuals were analysed for more than a decade in the Taiwanese study, with the results showing those who took heart statins were 22 per cent less likely to develop brain diseases.

However, for women, this figure raised to 24 per cent, while it only took a year for females to reap the full benefits compared to the three years it took men.

Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: "Similar studies in other countries have also associated statin use with lower dementia risk and it is interesting to see this observation repeated in a large study in Asia.

"These kinds of studies are useful for highlighting trends, but do not confirm cause and effect.

"The best way to know for sure whether statins could reduce the risk of dementia would be through clinical trials."

He added that he would not recommend taking statins to prevent dementia until more proof of their effectiveness had been obtained, although Dr Ridley did admit a healthy heart was connected to a healthy brain.

Therefore, he recommended keeping cholesterol in check to reduce the chances of Alzheimer's and other brain conditions.

Approximately 60 million prescriptions for heart statins are written in England every year, mainly because of their ability to lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation - which is linked to diseases such as Alzheimer's.

In the UK, around 800,000 people have dementia, while that figure is expected to reach more than one million by 2021.

Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.