Statins After Concussion May Reduce Dementia Risk

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Use of a common cholesterol drug may lower the risk of dementia for those who have sustained concussions.

Taking statins with 90 days of a concussion, reduced the risk of dementia by 13 percent in older adults, according to a new study published in JAMA Neurology.

The observational study, which was co-authored by Donald Redelmeier, of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, analyzed nearly 30,000 people over the age of 65 who had been diagnosed with a concussion between 1993 and 2013. Researchers excluded patients with a prior diagnosis of dementia or delirium.

A quarter of the people in the study had received a statin within three months of their concussion. The rest had not. Over the course of four years, those who’d taken a statin had a 13 percent lower risk of dementia compared to those who hadn’t.

The benefits of statins may be slight, but the research shows they may help reduce brain inflammation after a concussion.

While many people in the study had taken other prescription drugs after their concussion, “none of those medications made any difference — they didn’t make things better, they didn’t make things worse — with one exception: being on a statin at the time of the concussion led to about a 10% to 15% reduction in the long-term risk of subsequent dementia,” Redelmeier told Medpage Today. “This was distinct to statins; it was not found with any other lipid-lowering medication or any other cardiovascular medication.”

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