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A common cholesterol drug fights cataracts, too
Date:2/9/2010

Statins, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels, have been successfully fighting heart disease for years. A new study from Tel Aviv University has now found that the same drugs cut the risks of cataracts in men by almost 40%.

"Doctors have known for some time that there is some sort of preventative effect that statins have against cataracts," says Dr. Gabriel Chodick of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, who led the study. "It seems that they protect the eye from inflammation and ocular nerve cells from a process of oxidization. But ours is the first study to show such a strong association in such a large population."

The study covered over 180,000 patients between the years of 1998 and 2007 and was published in the February 2010 issue of the Annals of Epidemiology.

From the heart to the head

Dr. Chodick and his colleague Dr. Varda Shalev found that men aged 45 to 54 who took the statins daily to lower their cholesterol levels also lowered their chances of developing cataracts by 38%. For women of about the same age, the risk for cataracts was also cut dramatically, by about 18%.

Dr. Chodick has been studying the health benefits of statins for years. One of his recent studies, featured as part of a Time magazine cover story, showed that statins can reduce a person's chance of dying from all combined diseases and conditions by 40% something in the medical community called "all-cause mortality."

"People who persistently take statins have tremendously reduced chances of premature death by disease. We began to think that statins, which are proven to prevent cardiovascular disease, may do other good things in the body as well. We started investigating cataracts to show statins' effects in a more statistical manner," says Dr. Chodick.

A statin a day

"Statins are not being taken consistent
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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