A common cholesterol-lowering drug may be effective against Alzheimer's if given at an early stage of the disease, new research suggests. The findings, from a mouse study, add to laboratory evidence that cholesterol-lowering statins may prevent some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's.
Earlier work by the same Canadian team showed that the drug simvastatin improved blood flow in the brains of year-old laboratory mice with Alzheimer's. The new study by McGill University found it also boosted learning and memory - but only in younger six-month-old animals whose disease had not progressed far.
Study leader Dr Edith Hamel, from McGill University in Montreal said: “Our study shows that Simvastatin can protect against some of the damaging effects of Alzheimer’s disease on nerve cells involved in memory, if administered early in the disease process.” The findings are published in the latest issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.