Patients who have mild cognitive impairment and are taking lipophilic statins more than doubles their risk of developing dementia than the patients who are not given the treatment.
A Medical Xpress report said, based on a study presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2021 Annual Meeting, PET or positron emission tomography scans of lipophilic statin users exhibited a highly substantial drop in metabolism in the area of the brain that is initially impacted by Alzheimer's disease.
Statins are drugs administered to patients to lower cholesterol and lessen the risk of stroke or heart attack. They are the most commonly administered drug provided in the developed world, and almost half of Americans above 75 years of age are using a statin.
Different statin types are available based on the needs of patients, which include hydrophilic statins that focus on the liver and lipophilic statins that are spread to tissues in the entire body.
Fast-Tracking Development of Dementia
According to project head, Prasanna Padmanabham, of statins and condition in molecular and medical pharmacology student research program at the University of California, Los Angeles, there have been a lot of conflicting research on the impacts of statin drugs on cognition.
While some are claiming that statins shield users from dementia, others assert that they fast-track the development of the condition.
Padmanabham added, their study, Lipophilic Statins in Subjects with Early Mild Cognitive Impairment: Associations with Conversion to Dementia and Decline in Posterior Cingulate Brain Metabolism in a Long-term Prospective Longitudinal Multi-Center Study, published in the The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, aimed to clarify the link between statin use and the long-term cognitive trajectory of the subject.
In this study, the researchers separated participants into groups based on three parameters including baseline cognitive status, levels of baseline cholesterol, and statin types used.
Lipophilic Statin User's PET Scan
A similar EurekAlert! report said, participants went through 18F-FDG PET imaging to determine any regions of decreasing cerebral metabolism within every statin group.
Patients who had mild cognitive damage or normal cognition who used lipophilic statins were found to have more than twice the risk of developing dementia than to users of statins.
Over time, PET scan of users of lipophilic statin also presented a significant drop in metabolism in the posterior cingulate cortex, in the area of the brain known to decrease the most substantially in Alzheimer's disease.
On the contrary, no clinical or metabolic drop was found for statin users, or for users of the treatment who have higher levels of baseline serum cholesterol.
Padmanabham noted that by characterizing the metabolic impacts linked to the use of statins, the researchers have now provided a new application of PET to further their insight of the link between one of the commonly used types of drugs and one of the most common associations of the aging brain.
Results from these PET scans could be used to inform the decisions of patients regarding which statin would be most optimal to use regarding their cognition's preservation and ability to independently function.
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