The researchers then determined which patients had been taking a statin and for how long before Parkinson's disease symptoms appeared.
There is a lot of debate around the side effects of the anti-cholesterol drugs, which approximately eight million people in the United Kingdom take every single day. A recent study reported that people who stopped using statins were more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a finding interpreted as evidence that statins protect against Parkinson's disease.
This is not to say that statins cause Parkinson's, but that they may aggravate an underlying risk.
"Use of statins may lead to new Parkinson's disease-related symptoms, thus causing patients to stop using statins", Huang explained.
Despite this, they said people should continue to take them.
Since people with high cholesterol are treated for both kinds, the interpretation of results as it relates to Parkinson's disease is not easy.
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Numerous previous studies suggested that statins, which are used to treat high cholesterol, might protect against Parkinson's disease, with some studies showing a lower risk, some no change and some showing a higher risk of the disease.
Huang said: "This made it hard to know if the statin protective effect was due to the drug or pre-existing cholesterol status".
They identified that almost 22,000 people with Parkinson's disease and narrowed the number to 2,322 patients with newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease.
There are two types of statins.
Those statins which get dissolved in water they cannot get into the brain, on the other side while, fat-soluble statins, called lipophilic, they can be dissolved into the brain. A recent study claimed; people who stopped using statins were more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a finding interpreted as evidence that statins protect against Pakinson's disease.
The study, published in the journal Movement Disorders, showed that prior statin use was associated with higher risk of Parkinson's disease and was more noticeable during the start of the drug use.
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