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memory/cognitive issues and statins
LadyMarine68 posted:
My mom has memory issues - has had for 20 years, progressively getting worse as it relates to short term memory. She's been on Simvastatin for less than a year, but has learned that it can cause these issues. Is there a cholesterol medication that doesn't cause or affect the aforementioned issues? She's fighting to regain or to slow her memory/cognitive disfunctions as much as she can.

Thank you!
bobby75703 responded:
Cholesterol plays an important role in the brain and memory function. It plays a part in a proces caled synapses where nerves communicate with each other, aiding in memory and recall.
bobby75703 responded:
LadyMarine68 replied to bobby75703's response:
Thank you for your information. It sounds like ANY cholesterol lowering drug will do this, not just statins. Correct? How prevalent is this?
LadyMarine68 replied to bobby75703's response:
Sorry, one more question: shouldn't it be okay to take such a medication as long as the cholesterol didn't get too low? I.E. maintain good LDL/HDL levels with medications should serve both causes - good cardiovascular health AND negating any worry about brain function, correct?

The studythat was shared wasn't this specific and this info would be helpful.
billh99 responded:
Current research has shown a protective value of statins against Alzheimer's.

You need to talk to her neurologist about what type of dementia that she has and the possible benifit/harm from statins.
bobby75703 replied to LadyMarine68's response:
Cholesterol has a broad range. Whats too low? Nobody really knows for sure, and whats too low for one person may not be too low for another. We are not all alike. Although Merke defines low cholesterol as anything below 120 and LDL as below 50.

How much your body needs at any given moment may differ from the person next to you. The body has a built in feedback system so when more cholesterol is needed, the body makes more to meet its needs.

The brain by far is the one organ most dependent on cholesterol to function properly.

Recently the FDA added memory loss to the list of side effects with statins. But just how common statin associated memory loss is a huge debate.

Listen to what others have to say from first hand experience. Webmd has statin drug reviews from those who have experienced side effects. Look to the right hand column on this page under "Related Drug Reviews."

Another excellent source is

As far as negating any worry about brain function, I don't think anyone can place a number on that as these drugs carry risks at any level.

Plus there is more risks to statins than just memory. Muscle pain and weakness is the most common.

iride6606 replied to billh99's response:
Additionally, what is important to remember is that no link was established between statins and memory loss, there was only an observation that some statin users showed signs of memory loss yet no link could be established. I find it very interesting that there are those that will throw the statement that " no one can prove that statins ever prevented a heart attack" over, and over and over based on personal bias yet they can easily accept the concept that statins cause memory loss when it has not been proven. Circles, more circles.

Since we like to quote Doctors, here's one that some here have called an expert on the subject, Dr. Steve Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic;

"I am pleased that FDA did not overstate the diabetes and cognitive function risks. Both problems are uncommon and don't diminish the importance of statins in cardiovascular protection. For the vast majority of patients, the benefits far outweigh the risks."

iride6606 responded:
There is no proven link between statin use and memory loss. When the data of the latest meta-analysis conducted by the NIH was reviewed, some data was observed where some statin users also had memory loss which is what you read. There was no link between the two found, it was just an observation but to be on the safe side the FDA included the observation in the latest warning revision. One other important change was also made that some here don't like to report. The FDA acting on the recommendation of the NIH removed the risk of liver damage and in fact also dropped the recommendation of annual blood tests to detect liver damage.

These things evolve and as we learn more, additional changes will be made. Your Mother is on Simvastatin which has more incidence of side effects that Pravastatin, you should ask her doctor about a change.
billh99 responded:

Results Of participants with normal cognition at baseline, statin users performed significantly better across all visits in attention (Trails A) and had significantly slower annual worsening in CDR-SOB scores (P = .006) and slower worsening in Mini-Mental State Examination scores than nonusers (which was not significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons, P = .05). For participants with MCI, statin users performed significantly better across all visits on attention measures (Trail-Making Test Part A), verbal skills (Category Fluency), and executive functioning (Trail-Making Test Part B, Digit Symbol, and Digits Backward), but there were no differences in cognitive decline between users and nonusers.

More details at the link.
iride6606 replied to billh99's response:
I read that, very revealing. Its too bad there's so much incorrect hyper out there.
LadyMarine68 replied to iride6606's response:
Thank you both - very much!

Blessings to you,

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