Hyperlipidemic subjects were 43% more likely to have dementia than normolipidemic subjects. The findings from a new study indicate that treatment with statins and other lipid-lowering agents may cut the risk of dementia.
The current report is the most recent of several that have suggested an antidementia or anti-Alzheimer’s effect for these drugs. However, a few prospective studies have refuted this apparent benefit (see Reuters Health reports February 10, 2005, November 12, 2004, April 16, 2002, and February 20, 2002).
The present observational study, which is reported in the May 10th issue of Neurology, involved 9294 subjects from three French cities. Two percent of subjects were demented at baseline.
Nearly one third of subjects had hyperlipidemia, lead author Dr. C. Dufouil, from Hopital La Salpetriere in Paris, and colleagues note. Statin and fibrate usage rates were 15.6% and 13.7%, respectively.
Hyperlipidemic subjects were 43% more likely to have dementia than normolipidemic subjects. Further analysis showed that this association was confined to non-APOE4 carriers and non-Alzheimer’s disease cases.
Subjects treated with lipid-lowering agents were 39% less likely to have dementia than nonusers. However, only users who achieved normal lipid levels had a decreased dementia risk. The risk reductions seen with statin and fibrate use were comparable and APOE genotype did not modify the associations.
The results suggest that hyperlipidemia increases the risk of dementia and that use of lipid-lowering agents can decrease this risk, the authors conclude. "These effects appear to be independent of all major potential confounders," they add.
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