Research report: stronger statins bear higher risks for patients

Rosuvastatin (marketed by AstraZeneca as Crestor) is a member of the drug class of statins, used to treat high cholesterol and related conditions, and to prevent cardiovascular disease.

By Lynn Friedmann

A study reports that muscle problems in patients taking statins were related to the strength or potency of the cholesterol-lowering drugs.

UC San Diego Medicine researchers teamed up with California-based AdverseEvents, Inc., using the company’s software platform, to conduct a detailed examination of statin side-effect data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS). The study analyzed muscle-related adverse events linked to each of the major statin drugs in a total of 147,789 AERS reports gathered over a six-year period.

Looking at the most commonly used statins – both brand names and generic forms — rosuvastatin, the strongest statin, had the highest rates of reported problems. This was a surprise. Experts believed rosuvastatin possessed superior safety because it is less fat soluble and assumed not to penetrate into muscle cells as much as other statins.

The study points to the importance of post-marketed studies utilizing AERS data to understand the lasting side effect risks of widely used medications in disparate populations. Statins, prescribed to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, are among the most widely taken prescription medications in the world, with over 30 million users in the United States alone.

— Findings are reported online by PLoS ONE. News release at

Double whammy for Alzheimer’s disease
The underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not fully understood, but evidence points to the accumulation of B-amyloid, a protein toxic to nerve cells. B-amyloid is formed by the activity of several enzymes, including BACE1 found in elevated levels in most Alzheimer’s patients.

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute scientists have found that BACE1 does more than just help produce βB-amyloid — it also regulates another cellular process that contributes to memory loss.

In a study to better understand how the enzyme plays a role in memory loss, researchers used a mouse model that produces human BACE1. If BACE1 only acted to produce B-amyloid, there should be no effect on memory in the study mice. Instead, the enzyme was shown to impair learning and memory, indicating a secondary function at work.

Thus, inhibiting BACE1’s enzymatic activi- ty as a means to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease wouldn’t be enough—cells must be prevented from making BACE1 at all. But that also means a therapy that blocks BACE1 expression in the brain could potentially benefit patients with normal aging-related memory loss unrelated to Alzheimer’s disease.

— Findings appear in the The Journal of Neuroscience. More information at

Behavior of the tiniest water droplets
Water has been studied more extensively than any other liquid yet its microscopic properties remain poorly understood. Researchers at UC San Diego and Emory University have uncovered fundamental details about the hexamer structures that make up the tiniest droplets of water. A hexamer is considered the smallest drop of water because it consists of the smallest three-dimensional cluster in which the oxygen atoms of the molecules do not lie on the same plane.

This findings lead to a better understanding of the structure and dynamics of water in its liquid state, which plays a central role in many phenomena of relevance to different areas of science, including physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and climate research. For example, the hydration structure around proteins affects their stability and function, water in the active sites of enzymes affects their catalytic power, and the behavior of water adsorbed on atmospheric particles drives the formation of clouds.

— Findings appear in The Journal of the American Chemical Society. News release at

Lynne Friedmann is a science writer based in Solana Beach.

Related posts:

  1. UCSD to rock five-story building during quake test
  2. Researchers find evidence of ‘liberal gene’
  3. Norman to head Supercomputer Center
  4. Scipps Institution scientists honored
  5. RESEARCH REPORT: Project engineers preservation of cultural treasures

Short URL:

Posted by Pat Sherman on Aug 29, 2012. Filed under Health & Science, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Balkan folk music on tap Aug. 27 at Carmel Valley library August 20, 2014
    A special free family program of Balkan folk music, sponsored by the Friends of the Carmel Valley Library will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27 in the library’s community room. […]
  • Del Mar bodysurfer winner at world championships August 20, 2014
    Dr. Chris Lafferty, 56, of the Del Mar BodySurfing Club won first place in the 2014 World Bodysurfing Championships in the Mens 55-64 years age division. […]
  • Fall Ball program coming to North Coast area August 20, 2014
    BaseballASAP is pleased to announce that it is offering a 2014 North Coastal Fall Ball program to serve Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Cardiff, Encinitas, and Carlsbad. […]