Statins and Brain Health: Alzheimer's Disease and Cerebrovascular Disease Biomarkers in Older Adults

Vijay K. Ramanan, Scott A. Przybelski, Jonathan Graff-Radford, Anna M. Castillo, Val J. Lowe, Michelle M. Mielke, Rosebud O. Roberts, Robert I. Reid, David S. Knopman, Clifford R. Jack, Ronald C. Petersen, Prashanthi Vemuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Statins have been proposed to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Objective: Assess whether long-term statin use was associated with neuroimaging biomarkers of aging and dementia. Methods: We analyzed neuroimaging biomarkers in 1,160 individuals aged 65+ from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, a population-based prospective longitudinal study of cognitive aging. Results: Statin-treated (5+ years of therapy) individuals had greater burden of mid-and late-life cardiovascular disease (p < 0.001) than statin-untreated (=3 months) individuals. Lower fractional anisotropy in the genu of the corpus callosum, an early marker of cerebrovascular disease, was associated with long-term statin exposure (p < 0.035). No significant associations were identified between long-term statin exposure and cerebral amyloid or tau burden, AD pattern neurodegeneration, or white matter hyperintensity burden. Conclusion: Long-term statin therapy was not associated with differences in AD biomarkers. Individuals with long-term statin exposure had worse white matter integrity in the genu of the corpus callosum, consistent with the coexistence of higher cerebrovascular risk factor burden in this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1352
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • amyloid
  • biomarkers
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • neurodegeneration
  • positron emission tomography
  • statins
  • tau
  • white matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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