Statin Use and Risk of Cognitive Decline in the ADNI Cohort

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020 May;28(5):507-517. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2019.11.003. Epub 2019 Nov 11.


Objective: To investigate associations between statin use and cognitive change, as well as diagnostic conversion, in individuals with cognitively normal (CN) status, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and dementia due to Alzheimer disease (AD-dementia).

Methods: A multicenter cohort study with 1629 adults 48 to 91 years old with CN status, early MCI (EMCI), late MCI (LMCI), or AD-dementia at baseline followed prospectively for 24 months. Statin use was assessed at baseline, and cognition was measured over time with a composite memory score, a composite executive function score, and a global cognition score (Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale). Conversion to a more impaired diagnostic category was determined by clinician assessment. Repeated measures linear mixed-effects models were used to evaluate associations between statin use and change in cognition over time. Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate associations between statin use and time to diagnostic conversion. All models were stratified by baseline diagnostic group.

Results: Statin use was not associated with change in cognitive measures for CN, LMCI, or AD-dementia participants. Among EMCI participants, statin use was associated with a significantly slower rate of decline on the memory composite, but no other cognitive measure. Statin use was not associated with time to conversion for any diagnostic group.

Conclusions: This study did not support an association between statin use and diagnostic conversion but suggested a possible association between statin use and cognitive change in EMCI. Additional randomized clinical trials of statins may be warranted in the prodromal EMCI stage of AD.

Keywords: ADNI; Alzheimer's Disease; executive function; memory; statin.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Cognition*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Executive Function*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors