Friday, March 19, 2010

Statins enhance memory

I started taking low doses of a generic statin (Simvastatin) several years ago not because my cholesterol needed lowering, but because I had read about anti-inflammatory effects of the drug. (And it seems to me increases in inflammatory processes are a central issue in aging). Statins also appear to have beneficial effects on the central nervous system. They improve the outcome of stroke and traumatic brain injury, their use has been associated with a reduced prevalence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia. Man et al (Neuroscience, Volume 166, Issue 2, 17 March 2010, Pages 435-444) have now found that simvastatin, widely used in humans, enhances learning and memory in non-transgenic mice as well as in transgenic mice with AD-like pathology on a mixed genetic background. On looking for mechanisms that might underlie these beneficial effects they find that statins enhance a synaptic process called long term potentiation that is a central component of learning and memory.


  1. very interesting. although at least in my country it is not possible to get the drug without some kind of medical condition. one question: how did you determine the amount for the "low"-dose? did you calculate yourself to be a huge non-transgenic mice?

  2. Actually, I was lazy, and didn't do the calculations. So, I'll just do them here:
    The authors used 10 micromolar simvastatin in the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid)covering hippocamal slices to keep them alive. Molecular Weight of simvastatin is 418.57, so that 1 molar is ~420 grams/liter and 10 micromolar is 420 x 10-5 grams or 4.2 mg/liter.

    I take 10 mg simvastatin daily and have body weight of 176 pounds or ~80 kilograms, or ~80 liters of water (body is more than 90% water). So, we get 0.125 mg/liter as the drug level I am taking or ~ 30 times less than the level used in the experiments.

  3. Jeremy10:46 PM

    I read your blog almost every day, and it is one of my favorite. But, I would be careful making inferences from studies with mice. There is much evidence in the medical literature that simvastatin has adverse cognitive effects.

    And for the mice:

  4. The Framingham study evidence underlying the “lipid hypothesis” was never strong to start with. Since then a massive lipid lowering campaign has shown no effect on heart disease rates. While an elegant and seemingly intuitive hypothesis, more and more openly people are rightly questioning the wisdom of the cholesterol lowering campaign.

    Cholesterol is an essential component of every cell membrane and important for myriad physiologic functions. When Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD looked at the medical literature he found something quite surprising had been documented there. On average people with higher cholesterol live longer.

    The side effects of statins are myriad, rhabdomyolysis, (muscle injury), liver damage, in Crestor's case kidney damage. Dr Duane Graveline an MD and former NASA astronaut has also compiled extensive data on a more rare statin side effect, global transient amnesia, which afflicted him and many others, he has written a book on it, "Lipitor thief of memory".

    Don't forget co-enzyme Q depletion. All this while the "lipid hypothesis" is falling like a house of cards as decades of intensive lipid lowering efforts have done nothing to improve heart disease rates.

  5. PDM you have done your homework. I am a damaged person from multiple statins over 9 years ago.... I usually suggest people read information at the Stopped Our Statins web site. Vitamin D seems also to be effected on the same pathway as Q10.

    There are some articles here also:

    Thanks for writing

  6. Sharp memory helps in better scores and grades, quick and good understanding of new learning. Also helps to get noticed by your boss for being smart. Proleva did extensive studies on Green tea and concluded that it is an excellent memory enhancer and so it’s used for best of the benefits for the customer.