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Statins Take On the Brain

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may also treat or prevent Alzheimer's disease

5:13pm, February 8, 2001

They make up one of the most often prescribed classes of pharmaceuticals. Some enthusiastic physicians call them "wonder drugs." In recent years, these cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins, have revolutionized the treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Studies over the past decade have shown that people who have had a heart attack dramatically lower their risk of having a second one by taking statins. Recent data indicate that statins can even lower a person's chances of suffering an initial heart attack, and the drugs may also prevent strokes. As a result of these findings, statins-which go by such brand names as Lipitor and Zocor-reap enormous profits for the firms selling them.

The fortunes of

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