The raison d'etre of this website is to provide you with hard scientific information which may help you make informed decisions in your quest for health (so far I have blogged concise summaries of over 1,500 scientific studies and have had three books published).

My research is mainly focused on the effects of cholesterol, saturated fat and statin drugs on health. If you know anyone who is worried about their cholesterol levels and heart disease, or has been told to take statin drugs you could send them a link to this website, and to my statin or cholesterol or heart disease books.

David Evans

Independent Health Researcher

Monday, 19 April 2010

Statin drugs might be harmful for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients

This post contains a summary of a study published in Neurology Today 17 April 2008 - Volume 8 - Issue 8 - pp 1,9

Study title and author:
High Cholesterol Levels May Benefit ALS Patients, Study Suggests
Samson, Kurt

In the American Academy of Neurology publication Neurology Today Kurt Samson reviews a study that investigates the association of cholesterol levels with survival rates in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The study included 369 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients and 286 healthy individuals.

Samson's review found:
(a) Amyotrophic lateral patients with considerably higher cholesterol ratios lived, on average, one year longer than patients with lower levels.

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(b) Higher cholesterol levels may help prolong survival in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by warding off malnutrition and muscle wasting.
(c) The finding that high cholesterol is a prognostic factor for survival in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients, is of great significance, and calls into question the use of cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) in these patients.
(d) Statin therapy might increase the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-like syndrome.
(e) Raising the cholesterol levels of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients by dietary means might be beneficial.
(f) Doctors have noted the possible worsening effect of statins in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients and systematically stop statin drugs in patients.
(g) By reducing low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, statins decrease nutrient availability to muscle, which might contribute to neuromuscular junction damage and motor neuron death.
(h) Multiple pathways activated by statins might be deleterious in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients.

Hiroshi Mitsumoto, MD, the Wesley J. Howe Professor of Neurology at Columbia University and medical director of the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Center at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City commented: "Many patients are taking statin drugs, and other experts have said the drugs might be harmful for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients, so we need to look into this immediately" and "it seems to me that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients benefit more from having higher blood fat levels".

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