Statins lower stroke severity, boost recovery

February 27th, 2009 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 27 (IANS) Patients taking statins before a stroke experienced better outcomes and recovery than patients who weren’t on the drug - even when their cholesterol levels were ideal, according to a study.
“We were trying to determine if the daily use of statins had more of an impact on stroke patients than simply lowering their LDL (low-density lipid) or ‘bad’ cholesterol,” explained study co-author Latha Stead of Mayo Clinic.

“We already knew statin use improved outcomes in general, so we focussed on the patients who had optimal LDL levels and found it still had quite significant value.”

Statins or reductase inhibitors are enzymes that are widely used to improve cardiovascular health and, more recently, for certain vascular conditions in the brain. One use has been to lower the level of LDL which can contribute to arterial blockages.

Previous researchers had shown a lower death rate and improved function in strokes when people had used statins. The Mayo team found that statin used in this cohort also decreased the severity of the strokes and significantly improved overall outcomes, said a Mayo Clinic release.

The researchers say this shows benefits far beyond lowering lipid levels. They think the specific benefits may include plaque stabilisation and improved cell function in vascular walls, as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant factors. More research is needed to pinpoint the specific benefits.

The finding appears in the current issue of the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.

-Indo-Asian News Service


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