The effect of high-dose atorvastatin on neural activity and cognitive function.

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Medical Education, Cardiology

Journal Title

American heart journal

MeSH Headings

Adult, Atorvastatin, Brain, Cognition, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Female, Humans, Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors, Hypercholesterolemia, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Neuropsychological Tests, Task Performance and Analysis, Withholding Treatment


BACKGROUND: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has not been used to assess the effects of statins on the brain. We assessed the effect of statins on cognition using standard neuropsychological assessments and brain neural activation with fMRI on two tasks.

METHODS: Healthy statin-naïve men and women (48±15 years) were randomized to 80 mg/day atorvastatin (n=66; 27 men) or placebo (n=84; 48 men) for 6 months. Participants completed cognitive testing while on study drug and 2 months after treatment cessation using alternative test and task versions.

RESULTS: There were few changes in standard neuropsychological tests with drug treatment (all P>.56). Total and delayed recall from the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised increased in both groups (P

CONCLUSION: Six months of high dose atorvastatin therapy is not associated with measurable changes in neuropsychological test scores, but did evoke transient differences in brain activation patterns. Larger, longer-term clinical trials are necessary to confirm these findings and evaluate their clinical implications.



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