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Simvastatin cholesterol medication may slow progressive multiple sclerosis

With the different types of disease paths, brain atrophy (shrinkage) has been found in the thalamus.
With the different types of disease paths, brain atrophy (shrinkage) has been found in the thalamus.
Life Science Databases(LSDB)/Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at the University College London Hospitals (UCL) in the U.K. published Wednesday their phase II study on simvastatin, medication for controlling elevated cholesterol levels, that showed incredible results.

Their study, MS-STAT, centers around high, daily doses of simvastatin and its affects on the progressive stages of multiple sclerosis (MS) and they found that it not only showed it to be well tolerated and safe but that it slowed brain atrophy.

Simvastatin is a statin that controls cholesterol levels by inhibiting enzymes produced by the liver that has shown to have anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective effects on the nervous system.

Researchers randomly assigned 140 patients with secondary-progressive MS (SPMS) who were aged 18 to 65 years. They received either the placebo or the 80 mg of simvastatin for two years.

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MS can progress very differently for every person who has the disease.

Where some can feel perfectly healthy, even if it is causing damage, with symptoms appearing mostly ‘off’ than ‘on’ through out it’s course; other patient’s symptoms can appear from the onset of the disease and take a fairly aggressive course.

With the different types of disease paths, brain atrophy (shrinkage) has been found in the thalamus. The thalamus is located deep in the brain between the cerebral cortex and midbrain and it relays sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex.

The study leader Dr. Jeremy Chataway said, "In the progressive stage of MS the brain shrinks by about 0.6% a year. Our main measure of success was to reduce the rate of brain atrophy.”

Which is just what they did.

The examination of pre and post-treatments using brain MRI scans showed a reduction in the average atrophy rate by 0.3%, a 43% reduction when adjusted for age and gender, and significant improvements in the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and the Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS-29).

Dr. Chataway urged caution saying these findings might not “translate into clinical benefit but since the results look so promising”; they will be entering phase III trials with the drug.

For more info: for those who live in Lima, Ohio, the Northwestern Ohio MS Chapter can be reached at: 401 Tomahawk Drive, Maumee, OH at (419) 897-7263. They are located approximately an hour and a half from Lima, Ohio and 45 minutes from Findlay, Ohio. For directions please click here at Google Maps

Multiple Sclerosis Community Support:

  • MS World ~ “We've come together from around the world to help each other cope with the challenges of living with Multiple Sclerosis.”
  • Patients like Me ~ “Our Promise PatientsLikeMe is committed to putting patients first. We do this by providing a better, more effective way for you to share your real-world health experiences in order to help yourself, other patients like you and organizations that focus on your conditions.”
  • Med Help, Multiple Sclerosis ~ “Today, MedHelp empowers over 12 million people each month to take control over their health and find answers to their medical questions. MedHelp, a privately-funded company, has over 16 years of accumulated information from doctors and other patients across hundreds of conditions. In addition, MedHelp has long-standing partnerships with the top medical institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, National Jewish, Partners Health, and Mount Sinai. MedHelp's audience, archives, and partnerships make it a unique health destination on the Internet.”

Sources:;;; Radiological Society of North America. "Atrophy in key region of brain associated with multiple sclerosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2013.;

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