A new study has suggested a connection between cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) and an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that patients with low levels of LDL cholesterol are upward of three and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those with higher LDL levels. Their study was presented in Chemistry & Industry, the journal of the British Society of Chemical Industry (SCI).
High levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, also known as "bad" cholesterol is associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke. SCI lead researcher, Dr. Huang, studied 236 patients and determined that those with the lowest levels were three and a half times more likely to have the disease than patients with higher levels. However, critics believe that the study only shows a "statistical association,".
Some researchers believe that the association may be reversed: that Parkinson’s causes the low LDL levels not the other way around. Huang said that the benefits of statins in reducing LDL cholesterol far outweighed any Parkinson’s risk. However, she is concerned that the enormous number of patients taking statins worldwide may cause fast rise in Parkinson’s disease (if a definitive link is found between the cholesterol drugs and the disease.)