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Statin Drugs and Alzheimer's Disease
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder characterized by memory loss, as well as personality changes and speech and language difficulties. It is the most common form of dementia among older people. The disease usually begins after age 60 and the risk increases with advancing age. It is estimated that about 5% of men and women between the ages of 65-74 have Alzheimer's disease. The number of individuals affected by this condition doubles every 5 years beyond age 65. Alzheimer's disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German physician, who first noticed changes in the brain of a woman who died of an unusual mental illness. One hundred years later, it is still not fully understood what causes Alzheimer's disease, but there may be several contributing factors.
In this condition, the parts of the brain that control memory, language, and thought are particularly impacted. Early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include forgetfulness, impaired judgment, and difficulty in solving math problems. In more advanced stages, individuals can fail to recognize familiar people and places, and they may have difficulty in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding.
There is currently no cure. There are some drugs which may slow progression of Alzheimer's disease, at least temporarily. Some studies have found a link between taking a certain type of cholesterol lowering medication (statin drugs) and a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease in later life. However, a definitive role of statin drugs in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease has not been established at this time, and more research is needed.For more about Alzheimer's disease, see the following links: