from the South Bend Tribune.com
August 30. 2006 6:59AM
Scientists discover why statins help MS
OUR HEALTH: TREATMENT WATCH
Scientists say statin drugs, well-known for lowering cholesterol, seem to reduce inflammation that causes nerve cell damage in people with multiple sclerosis.
Previous research, still considered preliminary, has suggested that MS patients who also take statins have less nerve damage over time.
Scientists at the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, tested blood samples from people with relapsing-remitting MS to find out why.
They found that statins inhibited the formation of lymphocytes and monocytes. Those immune-system cells cause inflammation by attacking nerve cells in people with MS.
The researchers say statins may be used to enhance current treatments for MS, which slow the progressive disease but don't stop it.
The study was published July 25 in the online Journal of Neuroimmunology.