Do Statins Cause Motor Neuron Diseases, Such as ALS?

A study report­ed in April 2018 has made the news because it sug­gests that tak­ing a statin drug might increase your risk of get­ting a motor neu­ron dis­ease.  Statin drugs are used to reduce the amount of cho­les­terol in your blood, to pre­vent heart attacks and strokes. Motor neu­ron dis­eases include amy­otroph­ic lat­er­al scle­ro­sis (ALS).  ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s dis­ease, because that famous base­ball play­er had it. Physi­cist Stephen Hawk­ing also had a form of ALS. Motor neu­ron dis­eases are a big deal, but so are heart attacks and strokes. So should you wor­ry about this study? I don’t wor­ry about it, for the fol­low­ing rea­sons:

  • If you eat a healthy diet, you almost cer­tain­ly won’t need pills to low­er your cho­les­terol. So you could avoid even the the­o­ret­i­cal risks of the side effects of the pills.
  • Even if the statins do increase your risk of com­ing down with a motor neu­ron dis­ease, the motor neu­ron dis­eases were rare to start with and are still rare, even though so many peo­ple are tak­ing statins.
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