Statins may cut risk of Parkinson's

People who take statins - drugs used to lower cholesterol - may be slightly less likely to get Parkinson's, according to new research.

This effect may be greatest among people under 60, according to the study published in the journal Archives of Neurology.

About the research study

Researchers at Harvard University School of Public Health in the US analysed data on more than 38,000 men and almost 91,000 women who took part in the Health Professional Follow-up Study and the Nurses' Health Study in 1994.

After 12 years, 644 of the participants had been diagnosed with Parkinson's.

But people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (usually statins), especially those younger than 60, were less likely to develop Parkinson's.

However, it's still too soon to know whether statins really reduce risk of Parkinson's, or how they might be protecting the brain. So there's still work to do.

More evidence needed

Our director of research and innovation, Dr Kieran Breen, comments:

"No drug has yet been proven to reduce risk of Parkinson's. But research, such as this study into statin use, is starting to uncover interesting clues.

"While this study suggests cholesterol-lowering drugs may reduce risk of Parkinson's, the effect was slight so it needs to be confirmed through further research.

"Taking these drugs can increase risk of diabetes and affect memory. So people with Parkinson's shouldn't start taking statins unless recommended by their doctor.

"Exploring and understanding the effects of statins may lead to better treatments for people with Parkinson's."


Sourced from Parkinson's UK, 14th March 2012.