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Statin’ the Truth?

Heart in hand credit: Shutterstock http://tinyurl.com/pwva9ff

Heart in hand
credit: Shutterstock
http://tinyurl.com/pwva9ff

Read this post, then take a survey! http://bit.ly/mysciblogreaders

Prizes!

More detail at the end of this post.

If you have ever read my blog, please take the survey to tell me what you think about the blog.

__________________________

Statin’ the Obvious

According to Consumer Reports (a 2007 report), “statin drugs are among the most widely prescribed in the U.S.” It’s possible that as many as one in four over 45 are using the medications.

Lipid-lowering statins are primarily used to treat elevated cholesterol and atherosclerotic heart disease, and are touted as a means to prevent heart attacks.

In November of 2014, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) released revised guidelines for prescribing statins. According to the new guidelines, about ½ of U.S. adults between the ages of 40 and 75 might benefit from statins.

A 2014 Consumer Reports article approves both the use of statins and the new guidelines.

There’s another side of the story, however. According to a recent study  statins may be associated with a variety of side effects including an increase in the risk of diabetes, memory loss, cataracts, myopathy and perhaps even accelerated aging.

In July of 2015, a group of Tulane researchers published the results of experiments exposing cultures of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) to statin drugs. MSCs are adult stem cell lines that have been used in research as a substitute for the human embryonic stem cell lines that raised ethical concerns a decade or so ago. Because MSCs are able to differentiate not only into chondrocytes, osteocytes and adipocytes, but other cells of the ectoderm and endoderm, they are very useful in research.

Chemical structure of Lipitor Credit: Shutterstock http://tinyurl.com/ogc7nup

Chemical structure of Lipitor
Credit: Shutterstock
http://tinyurl.com/ogc7nup

In the Tulane study, MSCs were treated with the statins atorvastatin or pravastatinat clinically relevant concentrations” after which “their proliferation, differentiation potential, and gene expression profile were assessed.”

The MSCs, in both control and experimental cultures, were assessed using beta-galactosidase, flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy and other tools, all which are well-established techniques.

According to the scientists, exposure to statin drugs reduced the ability of MSCs to differentiate into macrophages, and increased cellular senescence and apoptosis (a cell death mechanism).

There are limitations to the study. First and foremost, it was done in cell culture. The cultures were derived from cells taken from a group of younger people and a group of older people. It’s not clear whether these cultures were aggregates of the two groups, or cultures from each individual’s cells. Earlier articles by the same researchers might explain their methods.

The authors recognize the limitations of their study, and suggest that additional in vitro and in vivo studies are necessary.

In spite of its limitations, the implications of this study are troubling, particularly for a class of medications (statins) that some say have little effect on cardiovascular disease when used for primary prevention.

And so the statin wars continue.

_____________

Help us do some science! I’ve teamed up with researcher Paige Brown Jarreau to create a survey of The Tenacious Telomere readers. By participating, you’ll be helping me improve The Tenacious Telomere. You’ll also be contributing to novel academic research on the readers of science blogs. It should only take 10-15 minutes to complete. You can find the survey at the link below.

bit.ly/mysciblogreaders

In exchange for completing the survey, readers will be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 Amazon gift card (100 available, or guaranteed 2 per specific blog included in this survey), as well as for other prizes (t-shirts). Every single participant will also receive an art perk from researcher Paige Brown Jarreau.

 

Share

Statin’ the Truth?

Heart in hand credit: Shutterstock http://tinyurl.com/pwva9ff

Heart in hand
credit: Shutterstock
http://tinyurl.com/pwva9ff

Read this post, then take a survey! http://bit.ly/mysciblogreaders

Prizes!

More detail at the end of this post.

If you have ever read my blog, please take the survey to tell me what you think about the blog.

__________________________

Statin’ the Obvious

According to Consumer Reports (a 2007 report), “statin drugs are among the most widely prescribed in the U.S.” It’s possible that as many as one in four over 45 are using the medications.

Lipid-lowering statins are primarily used to treat elevated cholesterol and atherosclerotic heart disease, and are touted as a means to prevent heart attacks.

In November of 2014, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) released revised guidelines for prescribing statins. According to the new guidelines, about ½ of U.S. adults between the ages of 40 and 75 might benefit from statins.

A 2014 Consumer Reports article approves both the use of statins and the new guidelines.

There’s another side of the story, however. According to a recent study  statins may be associated with a variety of side effects including an increase in the risk of diabetes, memory loss, cataracts, myopathy and perhaps even accelerated aging.

In July of 2015, a group of Tulane researchers published the results of experiments exposing cultures of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) to statin drugs. MSCs are adult stem cell lines that have been used in research as a substitute for the human embryonic stem cell lines that raised ethical concerns a decade or so ago. Because MSCs are able to differentiate not only into chondrocytes, osteocytes and adipocytes, but other cells of the ectoderm and endoderm, they are very useful in research.

Chemical structure of Lipitor Credit: Shutterstock http://tinyurl.com/ogc7nup

Chemical structure of Lipitor
Credit: Shutterstock
http://tinyurl.com/ogc7nup

In the Tulane study, MSCs were treated with the statins atorvastatin or pravastatinat clinically relevant concentrations” after which “their proliferation, differentiation potential, and gene expression profile were assessed.”

The MSCs, in both control and experimental cultures, were assessed using beta-galactosidase, flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy and other tools, all which are well-established techniques.

According to the scientists, exposure to statin drugs reduced the ability of MSCs to differentiate into macrophages, and increased cellular senescence and apoptosis (a cell death mechanism).

There are limitations to the study. First and foremost, it was done in cell culture. The cultures were derived from cells taken from a group of younger people and a group of older people. It’s not clear whether these cultures were aggregates of the two groups, or cultures from each individual’s cells. Earlier articles by the same researchers might explain their methods.

The authors recognize the limitations of their study, and suggest that additional in vitro and in vivo studies are necessary.

In spite of its limitations, the implications of this study are troubling, particularly for a class of medications (statins) that some say have little effect on cardiovascular disease when used for primary prevention.

And so the statin wars continue.

_____________

Help us do some science! I’ve teamed up with researcher Paige Brown Jarreau to create a survey of The Tenacious Telomere readers. By participating, you’ll be helping me improve The Tenacious Telomere. You’ll also be contributing to novel academic research on the readers of science blogs. It should only take 10-15 minutes to complete. You can find the survey at the link below.

bit.ly/mysciblogreaders

In exchange for completing the survey, readers will be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 Amazon gift card (100 available, or guaranteed 2 per specific blog included in this survey), as well as for other prizes (t-shirts). Every single participant will also receive an art perk from researcher Paige Brown Jarreau.

 

Share

Statin’ the Truth?

Heart in hand credit: Shutterstock http://tinyurl.com/pwva9ff

Heart in hand
credit: Shutterstock
http://tinyurl.com/pwva9ff

Read this post, then take a survey! http://bit.ly/mysciblogreaders

Prizes!

More detail at the end of this post.

If you have ever read my blog, please take the survey to tell me what you think about the blog.

__________________________

Statin’ the Obvious

According to Consumer Reports (a 2007 report), “statin drugs are among the most widely prescribed in the U.S.” It’s possible that as many as one in four over 45 are using the medications.

Lipid-lowering statins are primarily used to treat elevated cholesterol and atherosclerotic heart disease, and are touted as a means to prevent heart attacks.

In November of 2014, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) released revised guidelines for prescribing statins. According to the new guidelines, about ½ of U.S. adults between the ages of 40 and 75 might benefit from statins.

A 2014 Consumer Reports article approves both the use of statins and the new guidelines.

There’s another side of the story, however. According to a recent study  statins may be associated with a variety of side effects including an increase in the risk of diabetes, memory loss, cataracts, myopathy and perhaps even accelerated aging.

In July of 2015, a group of Tulane researchers published the results of experiments exposing cultures of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) to statin drugs. MSCs are adult stem cell lines that have been used in research as a substitute for the human embryonic stem cell lines that raised ethical concerns a decade or so ago. Because MSCs are able to differentiate not only into chondrocytes, osteocytes and adipocytes, but other cells of the ectoderm and endoderm, they are very useful in research.

Chemical structure of Lipitor Credit: Shutterstock http://tinyurl.com/ogc7nup

Chemical structure of Lipitor
Credit: Shutterstock
http://tinyurl.com/ogc7nup

In the Tulane study, MSCs were treated with the statins atorvastatin or pravastatinat clinically relevant concentrations” after which “their proliferation, differentiation potential, and gene expression profile were assessed.”

The MSCs, in both control and experimental cultures, were assessed using beta-galactosidase, flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy and other tools, all which are well-established techniques.

According to the scientists, exposure to statin drugs reduced the ability of MSCs to differentiate into macrophages, and increased cellular senescence and apoptosis (a cell death mechanism).

There are limitations to the study. First and foremost, it was done in cell culture. The cultures were derived from cells taken from a group of younger people and a group of older people. It’s not clear whether these cultures were aggregates of the two groups, or cultures from each individual’s cells. Earlier articles by the same researchers might explain their methods.

The authors recognize the limitations of their study, and suggest that additional in vitro and in vivo studies are necessary.

In spite of its limitations, the implications of this study are troubling, particularly for a class of medications (statins) that some say have little effect on cardiovascular disease when used for primary prevention.

And so the statin wars continue.

_____________

Help us do some science! I’ve teamed up with researcher Paige Brown Jarreau to create a survey of The Tenacious Telomere readers. By participating, you’ll be helping me improve The Tenacious Telomere. You’ll also be contributing to novel academic research on the readers of science blogs. It should only take 10-15 minutes to complete. You can find the survey at the link below.

bit.ly/mysciblogreaders

In exchange for completing the survey, readers will be entered into a drawing for a $50.00 Amazon gift card (100 available, or guaranteed 2 per specific blog included in this survey), as well as for other prizes (t-shirts). Every single participant will also receive an art perk from researcher Paige Brown Jarreau.

 

Share