AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 3, 2017

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Statins Should Not Be Used for Protection Against Parkinson’s Disease, Research Suggests

Use of statins may speed up the onset of Parkinson’s disease symptoms in people who are susceptible to the disease, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. Statins, used to treat high cholesterol, have been suggested to protect against Parkinson’s disease. Research has been inconsistent, however, with some studies showing a lower risk, some showing no difference and some showing a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease in statin users. “One of the reasons that may have explained these prior inconsistent results is that higher cholesterol, the main indication to use statins, has been related to lower occurrence of Parkinson’s disease,” said  Xuemei Huang, professor of neurology. “This made it hard to know if the statin protective effect was due to the drug or preexisting cholesterol status.” Another reason for the inconsistent results is that there are two types of statins. Water soluble statins cannot get into the brain while fat soluble statins, called lipophilic, can. Since people with high cholesterol are treated for both kinds, the interpretation of results as it relates to Parkinson’s disease is not easy.

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