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Effects of Statins on Memory, Cognition, and Brain Volume in the Elderly


BACKGROUND: There is widespread consumer concern that statin use may be associated with impaired memory and cognitive decline. OBJECTIVES: This study sought to examine the association between statin use and changes in memory and global cognition in the elderly population over 6 years and brain volumes over 2 years. Interactions between statin use and known dementia risk factors were examined. METHODS: Prospective observational study of community-dwelling elderly Australians age 70 to 90 years (the MAS [Sydney Memory and Ageing Study], n = 1,037). Outcome measures were memory and global cognition (by neuropsychological testing every 2 years) and total brain, hippocampal and parahippocampal volumes (by magnetic resonance) in a subgroup (n = 526). Analyses applied linear mixed modeling, including the covariates of age, sex, education, body mass index, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, smoking, and apolipoprotein Eepsilon4 carriage. Interactions were sought between statin use and dementia risk factors. RESULTS: Over 6 years there was no difference in the rate of decline in memory or global cognition between statin users and never users. Statin initiation during the observation period was associated with blunting the rate of memory decline. Exploratory analyses found statin use was associated with attenuated decline in specific memory test performance in participants with heart disease and apolipoprotein Eepsilon4 carriage. There was no difference in brain volume changes between statin users and never users. CONCLUSIONS: In community-dwelling elderly Australians, statin therapy was not associated with any greater decline in memory or cognition over 6 years. These data are reassuring for consumers concerned about statin use and risk of memory decline.

Type Journal
ISBN 1558-3597 (Electronic) 0735-1097 (Linking)
Authors Samaras, K.; Makkar, S. R.; Crawford, J. D.; Kochan, N. A.; Slavin, M. J.; Wen, W.; Trollor, J. N.; Brodaty, H.; Sachdev, P. S.
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Katherine Samaras
Published Date 2019-11-26
Published Volume 74
Published Issue 21
Published Pages 2554-2568
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.09.041
URL link to publisher's version