Do statins make you forget?

Jul 23 by

Do statins make you forget?

In a somewhat controversial discussion, some people are claiming that statins cause memory loss. But worse, they are also suggesting that this information is being distorted by mainstream news sources. When 1 in 6 (or more) people have elevated cholesterol levels, this is very concerning. This may affect you in the near future. What’s behind the claimed bias in the main news arena?

The suggested reason?

Money. If you rely on advertising dollars to make your profits, it’s tempting not to upset your advertisers.

So what is the buzz about all this? What’s going on?

JAMA Internal Medicine has published a paper to suggest taking statins leads to memory loss. But you’re unlikely to hear this on the news any time soon.

With a sample size of roughly 50,000 subjects, there was a lot of data to analyze. The results showed that taking a cholesterol lowering drug was correlated with memory loss, as against not taking a drug. The memory loss is classified as acute, within the first 30 days. That’s a troubling statistic, if it’s correct.

You can easily tell whether the mainstream news sources are reporting this kind of paper. Just do a search for statins and memory loss and see what appears on the major news sites. I just found an article on a very major news site that has this comment “The results….showed that more patients taking statins did indeed report short-term memory loss in the 30-day period after first taking the drug when compared to people not taking any cholesterol-lowering drugs.” (fair use excerpt, original here)

But the article goes on to say that statin use does not cause memory loss. Well, other cholesterol lowering drugs in the analysis reported also caused memory loss. That’s both types of cholesterol drug, compared to people not taking the drug.

I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t seem a reasonable conclusion to draw. They say it themselves. Patients taking the drugs reported memory loss that people not taking the drugs did not report. Sounds pretty clear to me, but the spin they put on this is almost the opposite.

When you look at information like this, you need to read every word carefully. Check whether it supports their final conclusion. In this case, it simply does not. How can it?

The only logical conclusion based on what they say is that cholesterol lowering drugs seem to cause memory loss, not just statins. That is VERY different from saying statins do not cause memory loss.  A=B therefore B=C is not always true. You have to be really careful about taking the summary conclusion of any source. In many cases it just won’t fit what they said earlier – as in this case!

If you’d like to learn some more about statins, watch these two videos here – they are eye-opening!


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