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25-03-2013 | Metabolism | Article

Meta-analysis shows reduced dementia risk with statin use


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medwireNews: A meta-analysis of eight prospective cohort studies looking at the effect of treatment with statins has shown a significant reduction in dementia risk.

The research follows previous pooled analyses that have failed to find a significant impact of statin use on the risk for Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, the team reports in Geriatrics and Gerontology International.

Yu Song and colleagues (Soochow University, Suzhou, China) identified eight cohort studies published between 2003 and 2009 that determined the relative risk (RR) for dementia in patients using statins. The studies included 57,020 participants followed up for between 1 and 9 years, and a median of 4 years, 2851 of whom developed dementia.

Analysis revealed an overall significant reduced risk for dementia in patients using statins (RR= 0.62). Because there was evidence of heterogeneity between the studies, a subgroup analysis was carried out, with studies stratified according to the duration of follow-up and the number of cases. Statin use was associated with significantly lower dementia risk in the four studies with at least 4 years' follow up (RR=0.56) and the four studies including 350 or more dementia cases (RR=0.52).

The authors found no evidence of publication bias, although they caution that "potential publication bias might have influenced the findings."

The high degree of heterogeneity found was also noted to be a drawback of the review because it made the results difficult to interpret. Although most studies adjusted for age, gender, and stroke risk, another limitation was the possibility of unmeasured or uncontrolled confounding factors in the studies analyzed, which could have been inherited in the current meta-analysis.

Yu Song et al conclude: "More basic experimental research studies and larger, multicenter trials are warranted to confirm the potential benefits of statins in the treatment of [Alzheimer's disease]."

By Afsaneh Gray, medwireNews Reporter

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