Three cheers for statins: multiple studies highlight benefits of its use among elderly

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A slew of statin-supporting studies have been released recently. They tout the blood thinner's benefits for the elderly on everything from heart disease to Alzheimer's to stroke.

First, a white paper from the Senior Center for Health and Security explores the possible benefits that statins could have in reducing cardiovascular disease in the U.S. Appropriate use of statins, coupled with physician-monitored diet and exercise programs, could lower cholesterol, risk of heart disease and healthcare expenses, according to the SCHS. The white paper is available at http://www.seniorsforcures.org/6-22-09_statins.html.

Scientists in the Netherlands, meanwhile, have been exploring statin use as an Alzheimer's disease treatment possibility. After noting that people with Alzheimer's disease experience premature nerve cell death, researchers at the University of Groningen attempted to use statins to stave off the cell death. Not only did they succeed in keeping nerve cells alive by using statins, they also prevented much of the memory loss associated with the nerve cell death. The full report appears in the June issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

In a third study, an international team of cardiologists completed an analysis of 10 trials involving 70,000 patients. They found that appropriate statin use reduced mortality rates by 12%, strokes by 19% and major coronary events, such as a heart attack, by 30%. In the July 1 edition of the BMJ online, the researchers say otherwise healthy older men with one risk factor for heart disease, and older women with multiple risk factors could benefit the most from statin use.