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Keywords:

  • attention;
  • concentration;
  • atorvastatin;
  • statins;
  • cognition;
  • renal disease

Study Objective. To examine the effect of atorvastatin on cognitive function by testing two hypotheses: that atorvastatin 10 mg/day would impair cognitive function, and that other biochemical and demographic measures would better predict cognitive performance than atorvastatin alone.

Design. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Setting. Two primary acute care settings in the north and northwest of Tasmania, Australia.

Patients. Fifty-seven patients from the Lipid Lowering and Onset of Renal Disease (LORD) trial.

Intervention. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either atorvastatin 10 mg/day or matching placebo. Cognitive testing was performed in two sessions occurring 12 weeks apart and involved three repeated measures of attention and concentration.

Measurements and Main Results. Performance was measured using three standard neuropsychological tests: Digit Symbol Coding subtest, Trail Making Test, and Stroop Color-Word Reading Test. Patients received atorvastatin for a mean of 72.93 weeks and placebo for a mean of 68.85 weeks. Repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance failed to identify any significant differences between the two groups on any of the three cognitive measures. Multiple regression analyses identified no single factor or combination of plasma cholesterol levels, renal function, liver function, or age that predicted cognitive performance in either the atorvastatin or placebo group on the three measures at either testing session.

Conclusion. Atorvastatin 10 mg/day did not produce decrements to cognitive performance. In addition, biochemical and demographic measures and the receipt of atorvastatin versus placebo did not individually or in combination predict cognitive performance on measures of attention and concentration.