Sunday January 19, 2020

Study Finds, Statins Can Prevent Neurological Disorder Development

For the study, the team of researchers searched genetic datasets of around 25 million people to find risk factors for developing ALS.

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Neurological disorder
Statins, if clinically tested, could be used to prevent the development of MND, the researchers said. Pixabay

Besides treating heart disease, cholesterol-lowering drugs statins can also be used to prevent the development of a neurodegenerative disease, finds a study.

According to the study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) researchers, high cholesterol has been found to be a possible risk factor for the development of motor neurone disease (MND) — a non-curable disease that affects the brain and nerves and is also known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The symptoms include weakness, indistinct speech, difficulty in swallowing food, muscle cramps and more. In some cases, people experienced changes in their thinking and behaviour.

“We saw that higher levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) were causally linked with a greater risk of the disease,” said Alastair Noyce from the varsity.

Heart disease, Neurological
For the study, published in journal “Annals of Neurology”, the team of researchers searched genetic datasets of around 25 million people to find risk factors for developing ALS. Pixabay

“We have well-established drugs that can lower cholesterol and we should look into whether they could protect against this terrible disease, which currently has no cure,” Noyce added.

For the study, published in journal “Annals of Neurology”, the team of researchers searched genetic datasets of around 25 million people to find risk factors for developing ALS.

In addition to the causal effect of high cholesterol, they also found genetic associations with smoking behaviour and lower levels of educational achievement, and an increased risk of ALS.

While low levels of exercise were associated with a protective effect, more aggressive exercise was associated with increased risk.

Neurological disorder, statins
Cholesterol-lowering drugs statins can also be used to prevent the development of a neurodegenerative disease. VOA

However, of these findings, only high cholesterol emerged as a clear modifiable factor that could be targeted to reduce the risk of MND.

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Statins, if clinically tested, could be used to prevent the development of MND, the researchers said.

“The next steps will include studying whether lowering levels of cholesterol might have a protective effect against MND, and potentially evaluating the use of cholesterol-modifying drugs in people at risk of MND,” Noyce noted. (IANS)

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Women More Likely to Die Because of Heart Failure Than Men, Says Study

Men and women have different biologies and this results in different types of the same heart diseases

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Heart Failure
The researchers explain that many of the differences between woman and men when it comes to heart Failure are connected to the sex hormone, oestrogen. Pixabay

Researchers have found that more women than men die of heart failure and 50 per cent of the heart failure cases among women are caused by having a heart attack, which can be treated with modern methods.

According to the study, 50 per cent of women experiencing heart failure and the cause is generally related to having untreated high blood pressure levels over time, which leads to progressive stiffening of the heart. There is no effective treatment for this kind of heart failure yet, the study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

“Men and women have different biologies and this results in different types of the same heart diseases. It is about time to recognise these differences,” said study researcher Eva Gerdts from University of Bergen in Norway.

For the study, the researchers have compared common risk factors for heart diseases and how these affect men and women differently. They have, among other things, focused on the sex differences in the effect of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

According to The World Health Organization (WHO), 11 per cent women and 15 per cent men are obese (BMI over 30 kg/ m2) globally. In Norway, one in five adults are obese.

“If we see this from a life span perspective, we can see that obesity increases with age, and that this trend is greater for women than men. Obesity increases the risk of having high blood pressure by a factor of three. This, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease,” Gerdts said.

According to the researchers, obesity also increases the risk of diabetes 2. A woman with diabetes has a much higher relative risk of heart complications and death than a man. “We know that women with diabetes 2 are usually obese and some of the fat is stored in the heart, which makes it more vulnerable for disease,” Gerdts added.

The researchers explain that many of the differences between woman and men when it comes to heart disease are connected to the sex hormone, oestrogen. The hormone prevents the formation of connective tissue in the heart, which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood. In men the effects are just the opposite.

Heart Failure
Researchers have found that more women than men die of heart failure and 50 per cent of the heart failure cases among women are caused by having a heart attack, which can be treated with modern methods. Pixabay

“We see that obese men store oestrogen in their fat cells in the abdomen, which has a bad effect on the heart,” Gerdts said. After menopause, women lose the oestrogen advantage. Their arteries become stiffer and more vulnerable for diseases, the study said.

“We think that this is part of the explanation for why high blood pressure seems to indicate higher risk of heart disease amongst women,” Gerdts said. In addition, smoking is also a part of the risk scenario for women.

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“For women, the effects of risk factors such as smoking, obesity and high blood pressure increase after menopause,” Gerdts concluded. (IANS)