Statins - commonly used to combat high cholesterol - may offer protection against dementia, scientists have revealed.
Researchers found in a five-year study that people taking statins were about half as likely to develop dementia as those who were not taking the drugs, according to data published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
They had assessed 1,674 Mexican-Americans over the age of 60 and taken account of a number of risk factors, such as diabetes and a history of smoking.
Study author Mary Haan pointed out: "We aren't suggesting that people should take statins unless they are necessary for other reasons."
However, she added that the results could stimulate further research looking into the possible effects of statins on dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment.
A separate research project presented yesterday at an Alzheimer's conference in Chicago suggested that blood pressure medicines could cut the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by up to 40 per cent.
Scientists from Boston University's school of medicine said drugs known as angiotensin receptor blockers were found to slow the progression of the condition.
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