(NaturalNews) If you take statin drugs for high cholesterol and suffer from frequent forgetfulness or amnesia, you could be a victim of statin-induced memory impairment. New research published in the open-access journal PLOS One reveals that pravastatin (Pravachol), a common statin drug used to reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood, impairs cognitive ability and memory recognition.
Researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK tested the effects of both pravastatin and atorvastatin (Lipitor) on mice over the course of 18 days, evaluating their collective ability to learn simple tasks and remember how to find food rewards. At the end of 18 days, the mice were allowed a one week withdrawal period to come down off the drugs, followed by testing designed to quantify their ability to recognize previously encountered objects.
When they evaluated the final data, the research team noted that pravastatin impaired the mice's overall learning capacity during the final days of treatment, a symptom that was fully reversed after the mice were taken off the drug. But as far as object recognition memory was concerned, mice taking pravastatin experienced lasting negative impairment.
"The results suggest that chronic treatment with pravastatin impairs working and recognition memory in rodents," explains a University of Bristol announcement about the study. "The reversibility of the effects on stopping treatment is similar to what has been observed in patients, but the lack of effect of atorvastatin suggests that some types of statin may be more likely to cause cognitive impairment than others."
Since as many as seven million people in the UK, and another 15-or-so million people in the U.S., now take statin drugs, the findings have strong public health implications. Not only do they affirm the countless thousands of anecdotal reports from statin users about how the drugs cause memory loss and impairment, but they also reinforce suggestions put forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year that statin manufacturers clearly label side effects related to cognitive function on drug packaging.
"This finding is novel and likely reflects both the anecdotal reports and FDA advice," says Neil Marrion, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Bristol's School of Physiology and Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences and lead author of the study. "[I]n order to better understand the relationship between statin treatment and cognitive function, further studies are needed."
Besides their complete uselessness, statins can lead to diabetes, liver disease and muscle damage, studies show
Other common side effects of statin drugs include an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, liver damage and muscle deterioration. Numerous studies have also called into question the ability of statin drugs to provide meaningful protection against heart disease, including a recent review of the published literature on statins which found that they are one of the most egregious medical frauds of all time.
"Statin use was correlated with a greater incidence of severe coronary artery stenosis as well as increase in the numbers of coronary vessels developing obstructive coronary artery disease," wrote the authors of this recent review, entitled "The Ugly Side of Statins. Systemic Appraisal of the Contemporary Un-Known Unknowns" and published in the Journal of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases.
"Furthermore, statin use was linked to an increase in the prevalence and extent of mixed calcific plaque. Five prospective studies have borne witness to the fact that statin therapy does not induce any coronary calcium regression and evolution of coronary calcium continues regardless of statin treatment."
Heidi Stevenson over at Gaia-Health.com published an excellent writeup about this report that you can read in full here: http://gaia-health.com.