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Doctors are examining the effects of statins on Parkinson's
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that is common around the world. Researchers have now found that statins used to treat high cholesterol can accelerate the onset of Parkinson's disease.
The Penn State College of Medicine researchers found that taking statins accelerated the development of Parkinson's in humans. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Movement Disorders".
People with an increased risk of Parkinson's shouldn't take statins
If people are prone to developing Parkinson's disease, they shouldn't take statins, for example, to treat high cholesterol. Ingestion accelerates the onset of the disease in such people, say the study authors.
Results contradict other studies
The results of the current study contradict another study that reported that statin withdrawal increases the risk of accelerated development of Parkinson's. This has been interpreted as evidence that statins protect against Parkinson's disease, the researchers say.
There are two different types of statins
However, the data from the current study suggest a completely different explanation, says author Professor Xuemei Huang from the Penn State College of Medicine in the United States. The use of statins can lead to new Parkinson's symptoms, which is why the patients then stop using statins. Another reason for the inconsistent results is that there are two different types of statins. There are so-called water-soluble statins that cannot get into the human brain, and fat-soluble statins that are able to penetrate the brain, adds Professor Huang.
What are the core symptoms of Parkinson's?
Parkinson's disease (Parkinson's disease) is often referred to as shaking disease. In Parkinson's, the dopamine-producing nerve cells in the structure in the midbrain die. This then leads to the typical movement disorders, the experts explain. There are several core symptoms of the disease. These include, for example, muscle rigidity, tremor (muscle tremors), instability in posture and slowed movements.
Doctors analyze the data of more than 50 million people for their study
People with high cholesterol are generally treated with both types of statins. This makes it extremely difficult to interpret the results and the possible effects on Parkinson's disease, the scientists explain. For their investigation, the researchers analyzed the data from a database of insurance claims from more than 50 million people. They identified almost 22,000 people with Parkinson's disease. This number was reduced to 2,322 patients with newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease for the study. The data from the participants were then compared with the data from people without Parkinson's in a control group, the doctors explain. This enabled the experts to determine which patients had taken statins and how long it took for the first symptoms of Parkinson's to appear.
Study result: Statins clearly increase the risk of Parkinson's
Previous use of statins could clearly be associated with a higher risk of Parkinson's disease, the experts from the USA explain. The use of statins has been associated with a higher risk of developing Parkinson's, not a lower risk, the authors emphasize. The increased risk is particularly high with so-called lipophilic statins. This result contradicts the hypothesis that statins protect human nerve cells, said Professor Huang. (as)