UNMC, Nebraska Medicine research if heart drug can prevent dementia

Researchers began a five-year PREVENTABLE study to see if taking statins can help prevent dementia and maintain health. 
Alfred Fisher Geriatrics 2018
Alfred Fisher, MD. Courtesy of UNMC

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Research teams at UNMC and Nebraska Medicine have begun evaluating if statins, a drug used to prevent heart attacks and strokes, could prevent dementia.

Researchers began a five-year PREVENTABLE study to see if taking statins can help prevent dementia and also maintain health.

PREVENTABLE stands for Pragmatic Evaluation of Events and Benefits of Lipid-lowering in Older Adults.

UNMC says statins protect blood vessels and reduce inflammation throughout the body.  UNMC estimates about one-third of people over the age of 75 currently take statins.

Alfred Fisher, MD, chief of the UNMC Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology and Palliative Medicine leads the research team.

The study is open to Nebraska Medicine primary care patients, including those from Grand Island Health Center and Bellevue Health Center clinics.

Dr. Fisher says the risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia overlap with the risk factors for developing heart disease and stroke.

“We are asking if the medication prevents heart disease and stroke and also will it delay or prevent dementia? Currently, we don’t have any cures for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and prevention would be important in the absence of treatment,” said Dr. Fisher.

Dr. Fisher spoke about how patients may be more frightened of developing dementia than anything else.

“It threatens their identity and independence,” said Dr. Fisher. “It’s exciting to bring these studies to older adults. A lot of time older adults are not included in clinical studies. It’s a unique way to engage them in research and have clinical trials that look more like real-life clinical practice.”

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