Background and Objectives:
The efficacy of hydroxy methyl glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins) in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular events pushed the target LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels lower and lower in successive guidelines despite signals regarding potential cognitive side effects. We evaluated the relationship between cognitive impairment and LDL-C levels in elderly ischemic stroke patients. Materials and Methods:
29 ischemic stroke patients aged 65 and above with LDL-C levels ≤70 mg/dL, classified according to the TOAST criteria, underwent detailed neuropsychological testing comprising the MMSE test, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Evaluation (ACE-III) test. Their performances were compared to those of 29 age-matched ischemic stroke patients with LDL-Cl levels >71 mg/dL. Results:
The MMSE test failed to detect significant cognitive differences between the two groups. The MoCA and ACE-III tests detected impairments in visuo-spatial/executive function, attention, and recall/memory in patients with low LDL-C. A stepwise linear regression model of the ACE-III total scores revealed that LDL-cholesterol levels could contribute to 13.8% of the detected cognitive dysfunction, second in importance only to age, which contributed to 38.8% of the detected impairment. Conclusions:
Physicians should be cautious when prescribing statins to elderly people. Hydrophilic ones may be preferred in cognitively impaired patients.
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