Statin use and the risk of incident dementia: the Cardiovascular Health Study

Arch Neurol. 2005 Jul;62(7):1047-51. doi: 10.1001/archneur.62.7.1047.


Background: Statins (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors) reduce cardiovascular risk through mechanisms that might affect the development of dementia.

Objective: To evaluate whether statin use is associated with a lower risk of dementia compared with never use of lipid-lowering agents (LLAs).

Design: Cohort study of community-dwelling adults 65 years and older. The analysis included 2798 participants free of dementia at baseline.

Main outcome measures: Using Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, we estimated the risk of incident all-cause and type-specific dementia associated with time-dependent statin therapy compared with never use of LLAs. The primary analyses incorporated a 1-year lag between exposure and outcome. Secondary analyses included the final year of exposure and modeled statin use as current use vs nonuse to simulate a case-control approach.

Results: Compared with never use of LLAs, ever use of statins was not associated with the risk of all-cause dementia (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.77-1.52), Alzheimer disease alone (HR, 1.21; 95% CI, 0.76-1.91), mixed Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia (HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.44-1.72), or vascular dementia alone (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 0.61-3.06). In contrast, in secondary analyses, current use of statins compared with nonuse of LLAs was associated with HRs of 0.69 (95% CI, 0.46-1.02) for all-cause dementia and 0.56 (95% CI, 0.35-0.92) for any Alzheimer disease.

Conclusions: In this cohort study, statin therapy was not associated with a decreased risk of dementia. Methodological differences may explain why results of this cohort investigation differ from those of prior case-control studies. Additional investigation is needed to determine whether and for whom statin use may affect dementia risk.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dementia / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperlipidemias / complications
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Male


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors