Find lifts Parkinson’s therapy hope
Cholesterol-lowering drugs taken by millions of people could form the basis of new treatments for Parkinson’s, research suggests.
Scientists found that certain types of statin drugs appear to offer some protection against the disease.
Patients who stopped taking fat-soluble statins such as simvastatin were 58% more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who stayed on them.
Fat-soluble statins were generally associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s, but the same was not true for water-soluble versions of the drugs.
The findings, published in online in the journal Neurology, come from a study of almost 44,000 people in Taiwan who were given statins to reduce cholesterol.
Under the Taiwanese health system, doctors have to stop prescribing statins once a patient’s cholesterol falls to its target level.
“This policy allowed us to see whether there was any difference in the risk of Parkinson’s in people who stopped taking statins compared to the ones who kept taking them,” said study leader Dr Jou-Wei Lin, from National Taiwan University in Taipei.
Dr Kieran Breen, from the charity Parkinson’s UK, said people with Parkinson’s should not treat themselves with statins unless advised to do so by their doctors.
But he thought statins could point the way for research leading to new treatments for the disease, which affects around 127,000 people in the UK.
“This study provides the most compelling evidence yet that people who take some types of statins may be at reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s,” said Dr Breen.
“The researchers have shown that those people taking fat-soluble statins, could reduce their risk of developing Parkinson’s by over half.
“Statins, like all drugs, have considerable benefits for certain conditions, but also side effects, and at the moment there are still many unanswered questions about the use of statins and their role in helping to stop Parkinson’s developing.
“It is too soon to say whether the results of this study could lead to a potential breakthrough in the use of statins to manage or reduce the risk of Parkinson’s, and people with Parkinson’s shouldn’t consider starting to take statins unless this is recommended by their doctor.
“The next step is to work out exactly how statins act inside the brain to protect the nerve cells that die when Parkinson’s develops. The hope would be to develop new treatments for Parkinson’s that can slow or even prevent the condition.”
Dr Lin pointed out that fat-soluble statins were better able to enter the brain, which may explain their protective effect.
Another popular fat-soluble statin is atorvastatin. Water-soluble statins include pravastatin and rosuvastatin.
Parkinson’s disease affects motor nerves, causing symptoms that include muscle rigidity, slow movements and uncontrollable shaking.
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a health related question of your own - about your or your family's health, medication or upcoming procedures, for example - you can also access their, "Ask the Expert" service. Available around the clock, 365 days a year this free resource allows you to ask the team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives and pharmacists about any health concerns you may have - whenever you need them, 24 hours a day, every day. Please get in touch now.
Click below to submit your question online.
Latest posts by Sally - Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- Are you more likely to buy a Marathon than a Snickers bar? - September 15, 2019
- The Qantas Onboard Experience - September 15, 2019
- 7 retirement planning mistakes to avoid - September 13, 2019
- Reflexology – what’s it all about? - September 12, 2019
- Explore the World’s Waterways in style - September 12, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!