Statins may have protective role against depression

Published On 2022-05-19 05:00 GMT   |   Update On 2022-05-19 05:26 GMT

Philadelphia: Statins have been hailed as a wonder drug; the cholesterol-lowering drugs have been prescribed to tens of millions of people since their approval in the late 1980s to prevent heart attack and stroke. But the drugs may yet have additional benefits, some research has hinted, including on mental health. Now, a new study examines the influence of statins on emotional bias, a marker...

Login or Register to read the full article

Philadelphia: Statins have been hailed as a wonder drug; the cholesterol-lowering drugs have been prescribed to tens of millions of people since their approval in the late 1980s to prevent heart attack and stroke. But the drugs may yet have additional benefits, some research has hinted, including on mental health.

Now, a new study examines the influence of statins on emotional bias, a marker for risk of depression. The study appears in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Researchers led by Amy Gillespie, PhD, at the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, conducted the online observational study from April 2020 through February 2021, at the height of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, when global stress levels were elevated and the incidence of psychiatric disorders spiked.

Over 2000 participants in the UK recorded information about their current psychiatric symptoms, medications, and other lifestyle factors. They also performed cognitive tasks meant to measure memory, reward, and emotion processing, which are linked to depression vulnerability. One task required participants to identify the emotional expressions of faces, which displayed varying degrees of fear, happiness, sadness, disgust, anger, or fear.

The vast majority of subjects (84%) were not taking either medication, but a small group were taking only statins (4%), only a different class of anti-hypertension medication (6%), or both (5%).

Participants taking statins were less likely to recognize fearful or angry faces and more likely to report them as positive, indicating they had reduced negative emotional bias.

Dr. Gillespie said, "We found that taking a statin medication was associated with significantly lower levels of negative emotional bias when interpreting facial expressions; this was not seen with other medications, such as blood pressure medications."

"We know that reducing negative emotional bias can be important for the treatment of depression," said Dr. Gillespie. "Our findings are important as they provide evidence that statins may provide protection against depression. Of particular note, we saw these results during the high-stress context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our findings also provide the first potential psychological explanation of statins' mental health benefits," in that they seem to affect emotion processing. It remains unclear exactly how statins could protect against mental illness, but one possibility is that they may work through anti-inflammatory mechanisms, which have also been implicated in depression.

John Krystal, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, said of the work, "Statins are among the most commonly prescribed medications based on their ability to prevent heart attacks and strokes. These new data raise the possibility that some of their positive effects on health could be mediated by the effects of these drugs on the brain that promote emotional resilience."

For further reference log on to:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2022.03.009

Tags:    
Advertisement
Article Source : Biological Psychiatry

Disclaimer: This site is primarily intended for healthcare professionals. Any content/information on this website does not replace the advice of medical and/or health professionals and should not be construed as medical/diagnostic advice/endorsement or prescription. Use of this site is subject to our terms of use, privacy policy, advertisement policy. © 2020 Minerva Medical Treatment Pvt Ltd

Our comments section is governed by our Comments Policy . By posting comments at Medical Dialogues you automatically agree with our Comments Policy , Terms And Conditions and Privacy Policy .

Similar News