Drug Lipitor Serves a Double Purpose - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/9/04

Drug Lipitor Serves a Double Purpose

Another pill is getting kudos. A study released on Tuesday at a meeting of the American Heart Association finds Alzheimer's patients who took the cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor had less mental decline and even some improvement in memory compared to patients given a placebo.

This supports the theory that just like the plaque that clogs the heart, the plaque that clouds the brain in Alzheimer's is attributed at least in part to cholesterol. Further study is already underway to see if cholesterol lowering drugs, in general, can help those with Alzheimer's.

Dr. Sparks' study involved 63 patients. None of them had ever taken a cholesterol lowering drug.

About two-thirds of the patients had cholesterol over 200. All of the patients also took Alzheimer's medication.

53% of patients taking the cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor, along with their Alzheimer's medicine, either improved or maintained Alzheimer's symptoms compared to only 28% who took a placebo.

Study led by researchers at Sun Health Research Institute findings being released on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association researchers say cholesterol enhances the production of a component in the blood that makes plaque and can increase cholesterol in the brain.

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