Thursday, September 26, 2013

Commonly-prescribed statin may impair memory

Side effects are slowly being admitted

Some commonly prescribed statins can impair memory but others do not, scientists have found.

The most recent review of statins suggests that for three quarters of those taking them, they offer little or no value

Between six and seven million people in the UK take the medicines every day to lower "bad cholesterol" in the blood.

But after starting the treatment, some patients complain that their memory is affected.  Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) insisted all manufacturers list in their side effects that statins could affect cognitive function.

Scientists at the University of Bristol tested the effects of two commonly prescribed statins – pravastatin and atorvastatin – on rats.

Pravastatin, with the brand name Pravachol, was found to have adverse effects on working and recognition memory.

However, atorvastatin, with the brand name Lipitor, did not have any effect.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, found adverse effects of pravastatin on memory could be reversed by stopping the medication.

Neil Marrion, professor of neuroscience at Bristol's School of Physiology and Pharmacology and the study's lead author, said: "This finding is novel and likely reflects both the anecdotal reports and FDA advice.

"What is most interesting is that it is not a feature of all statins.  "However, in order to better understand the relationship between statin treatment and cognitive function, further studies are needed."

The research examined adverse effects on memory from prescribed statin medicines, used to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood.

Results showed rat performance for simple learning and memory tasks were impaired when taking pravastatin, but not atorvastatin.

The rats were treated daily with pravastatin or atorvastatin for 18 days.  The rodents were tested in a simple learning task before, during and after treatment, in which they had to learn where to find a food reward.  The rats also performed a task which measured their ability to recognise a previously encountered object, on the last day of treatment and a week after it finished.

Pravastatin tended to impair learning over the last few days of treatment, though this was fully reversed once the rats stopped taking the medicine.

In the novel object discrimination task, object recognition memory was also impaired by pravastatin.

No effects were observed for atorvastatin in either task.


Why going to the gym could make you fat: 'Treats' after a workout mean 25% of us actually GAIN weight

A quarter of gym users gain weight when they start exercising, according to a new study.  The new gym-goers pile on the pounds because they allow themselves a treat after working out.

The survey found that 39 per cent of people burn as little as 300 calories during each visit to the gym making them susceptible to weight gain if they then treat themselves to a high-calorie snack.

The poll found that regular gym sessions gave dieters a 'feeling of complacency' which made it more difficult for them to stick to their recommended daily calorie intake.

Diet firm Forza Supplements polled 1,000 gym users on their diet habits.  It found that 26 per cent of gym users actually put on weight after starting regular exercise.

A further 49 per cent said that their weight had stayed the same while just 27 per cent said that they had lost weight.

The survey revealed that most keep fit fans go the gym between three and four times a week - exercising on average for between 40 minutes and an hour.

Four out of ten users burn between 300 and 500 calories in a session - though a quarter manage only 200 to 300 calories, 10 per cent just 100 to 200 calories and four per cent less than 100 calories.

More than a third of people allow themselves a treat after going to the gym - most typically a chocolate bar such as a Kit Kat - 233 calories for a four finger bar - or a glass of wine - 190 calories.

Another reason why going to the gym can make you fat is that users have far bigger appetites than people who do not exercise.

The poll revealed that 53 per cent said their exercise sessions substantially boosted their appetite.

Many gym users also exercise regularly ahead of a night's partying.

Almost half of fitness fans said they would work-out prior to a big night out to 'compensate' for the calories they would consume later.

And 42 per cent of gym goers felt that by exercising regularly, they had earned the right to deviate from controlled diet plans.

Many celebrities admit to using the gym to earn 'brownie points' prior to a night's partying.

Luisa Zissman, runner-up in The Apprentice, said: ‘Who hasn't had a guilt inspired exercise session?  ‘We all do it - work out furiously in the gym to get “brownie points” ahead of a night on the town.  ‘You know you are going to consume a stack of calories by boozing and drinking - so why not burn off a load beforehand.’

Forza Supplements managing director Lee Smith said the survey showed many dieters struggle to lose weight despite exercising.  He said: ‘Battling the bulge is the toughest thing many of us do.  ‘Lots of people go the gym because they know they have no control over their eating habits.  ‘They figure, “I am going to pig out anyway so I may well do my best to limit the damage”.

‘Many gym goers underestimate the level of exercise the need to do to shift fat.  ‘To lose 1kg of body fat, you need to burn about 8,000 calories - that is around 80 miles of running to cover just 1kg in weight.’


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