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Statins Prevent Cataracts, Also?

People taking statins to lower their cholesterol may reap another reward. A new study shows the drugs may also reduce the risk for the most common type of cataract by 60%. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison looked at the incidence of nuclear cataracts, or cataracts that occur in the center of the eye, in nearly 1,300 people who were considered at high risk for developing the condition within the next five years.

During the study, 210 people were diagnosed with cataracts. After adjusting the results to take other factors that could have influenced the development of cataracts into account, researchers found those who took statins were 40-percent less likely to come down with the eye condition.

When they looked only at people who had never smoked and who did not have diabetes (both smoking and diabetes increase the odds someone will develop a cataract), the risk was 60-percent lower among the statin users.

The researchers believe statins may help lower the incidence of cataracts because of their antioxidant effects. Oxidative stress, which is caused by lower levels of antioxidants, has been linked to the development of cataracts.

The authors conclude, "The potential health care implications of the relationship between statin use and cataract incidence are great because nuclear cataract is the most common type of age-related cataract."

Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006;295:2752-2758

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http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3875