US researchers from University of North Carolina have reported an interesting find: statins, or drugs used to reduce levels of LDL or bad cholesterol may actually have an added benefit; reduce the chance of developing Parkinson's disease.
At present, around a million Australians use pop statins, which are lipid-modifying drugs that reduces body fat. It is currently the most prescribed drug for reducing cholesterol levels.
The drug is meant to prevent hardening or narrowing of arteries, which lead to coronary diseases, including heart diseases and stroke.
The study, which was based on 124 patients and 112 control subjects, is not viewed with much enthusiasm among Australian doctors who term the study as small and the results contradictory.
The researchers had found those with reduced LDL levels were up to three times more likely to be in the Parkinson's group.
'Interestingly, use of either cholesterol-lowering drugs, or statins alone is related to lower PD (Parkinson's disease) occurrence.' the researchers claim.
Cardiologist Murray Esler, assistant director of Melbourne's Baker Heart Research Institute, said it was too small a study and Parkinson's patients probably develop low cholesterol as a result of having Parkinson's because the disease made it harder for them to feed and look after themselves.
Yet researchers are now planning a huge trial involving more than 16,000 patients to test this newly found association.