It is well established that 3-hydroxy-3-methyglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors ("statins") reduce cholesterol levels and prevent coronary heart disease (CHD). Although a causal relation between elevated cholesterol levels and stroke has not been well defined, a number of large secondary prevention studies and meta-analyses have shown that statin therapy reduces stroke in patients with CHD and hypercholesterolemia. In addition to the vascular effects of statins (stabilization of atherosclerotic plaques, decreased carotid intimal-medial thickness), there are increasing data to suggest that these agents have additional properties that are potentially neuroprotective. These include endothelial protection via actions on the nitric oxide synthase system, as well as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet effects. These actions of statins might have potential uses in other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and certain types of brain tumors.