Statins, the wonder drug

Medical science suspects that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may also play a role in protecting the brain from dementia, but until now there have been few studies that even hint at a possible mechanism. Now, Steven Goldman and colleagues at the University of Rochester, New York, have demonstrated that, in the laboratory at least, statins can affect glial progenitor cells. These cells are akin to stem cells and help the brain stay healthy by serving as a crucial reservoir of cells that the brain can customize depending on its needs. Statins it seems stymie the flexibility of these cells perhaps removing their protective effect. "These findings were made through experiments done in cell culture using human brain cells and exposing them to doses of statins used widely in patients", says Goldman, "But this research was not done in people. There are a great number of questions that need to be explored further before anyone considers changing the way statins are used."