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Statins might fight multiple sclerosis

Statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs taken by millions of people, might also help those with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a preliminary study appearing in the May 15 Lancet.

Various studies have indicated that statins—in addition to slashing the harmful low-density lipoprotein cholesterol—have anti-inflammatory effects. Scientists reasoned that this might help MS patients, who have areas of brain tissue where the fatty sheath that insulates nerves has been stripped away by an inflammation-based immune onslaught. The damage to these structures, called myelin sheaths, can adversely affect coordination, vision, stamina, speech, and thinking, and it can lead to a shorter lifespan.

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