Why is it important?
Recently, data from the ENGENE-PSP study on environmental and genetic factors affecting Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, or PSP, were mined to look for associations between the use of statins and risk of this condition. PSP falls under the broad umbrella of Parkinson’s plus syndromes. Although some of the difficulties with walking and balance are shared with Parkinson’s, PSP is not managed with levodopa and, rather than alpha-synuclein which is the main culprit in Parkinson’s, it involves a protein called tau which is linked to Alzheimer’s. Despite these differences, research assessing the neuroprotective potential of statins is still informative for the broader community, including Parkinson’s.
While statin use did not affect risk for PSP, the use of statins such as simvastatin was associated with a 1 year delay in the onset of symptoms, which is meaningful given the rapid average 6-year disease course. The researchers also found that statins such as atorvastatin were associated with less severe movement problems.
Related work and trials
PD STAT study