Monday, April 19, 2010

Cholesterol-lowering statins may help treat MS

From Press TV:

Apart from the various benefits reported for cholesterol-lowering statins, a new study shows the drug to be effective in treating multiple sclerosis (MS).

MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune cells mistakenly attack fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord, disrupting the ability of nerves to transmit information and resulting in disability.

There is no known cure for the condition. Available treatments, which are designed to return function after an attack, prevent new attacks and further disability, are not completely effective.

According to the study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, the statin drug atorvastatin (Lipitor) lowers the risk of developing new brain lesions pathognomic of MS by 50 percent.

Statins, known for their anti-inflammatory properties on immune cells, can fight early forms of multiple sclerosis; their effects in preventing a second attack is, however, unknown.