NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Findings from the prospective Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (SALSA) provide additional support for the notion that statin use decreases the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Many studies have examined the potential benefits of statin therapy on cognitive function in older adults, with inconsistent results. In the July 29 issue of Neurology, a research team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor further examined these issues in a population-based cohort study comprising 1,674 Mexican Americans at least 60 years old and free of cognitive impairment in 1998.

Dr. Mary N. Haan and her colleagues report that 130 subjects were diagnosed with dementia (n=82) or cognitive impairment without dementia (CIND, n = 58) during 5 years’ follow-up. Among the 452 subjects who used statins during the study period, the risk of developing dementia or CIND was cut by half.

After adjusting for education, smoking status, apolipoprotein E genotype, and history of stroke or diabetes at baseline, statin use was associated with a hazard ratio of 0.564 (p = 0.010).

Dr. Haan’s group observed the protective effects of statins in subgroups who scored either above or below the median on the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination.

The researchers conclude: “Additional questions and future research suggested in particular by this analysis involve the investigation of differences of statin use and association of dementia and CIND in individuals with stroke and diabetes, and the impact of statins on CIND and subtypes of dementia.”

Neurology 2008;71:344-350.