People who take statins are at “significantly greater” risk of memory impairment than those who don’t take the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to research reported by Internal Medicine News. Lead University of New South Wales medical researcher Dr. Katherine Samaras presented her team’s findings at a joint meeting of the International Congress of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society. Meanwhile, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, even amidst widely publicized concerns about its panel members’ strong ties to pharmaceutical companies, has issued new guidelines suggesting that anyone deemed to have just a 10% risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years should be seriously considered for long-term statin therapy.
Earlier this year the Sunday Express reported on the conflicts of interest involved in the process of developing the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines on statins: “A Sunday Express investigation has discovered eight out of 12 members of the [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] panel which drew up the guidance have financial ties to companies that make statins or next generation cholesterol lowering drugs.”
Samaras’ research involved multi-year neuropsychometric testing on 377 people who were 70-90 years old and who had been taking statins for 2-22 years, and on 301 controls with similar physical conditions who had never taken the drugs. Her team found “significantly greater decline in memory” among statin users at both 2 and 4 years. “Previous stroke was significantly associated with an even greater memory decline among statin users,” reported Internal Medicine News. “The findings add weight to the Food and Drug Administration’s warning about statin use and memory loss in 2012.”
Scandal of experts who rule on NHS statins but get paid by drugs firms (Sunday Express, March 9, 2014)
Lipid modification: cardiovascular risk assessment and the modification of blood lipids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, July 2014)
Statin use linked to memory decline in elderly (Internal Medicine News, July 10, 2014)
Statin Use but Not Metabolic Syndrome Is Associated with Cognitive Decline in the Elderly: The Sydney Memory and Ageing Study (Samaras, Katherine et al. Endocrine Society Conference Proceedings Abstracts, 2014.)