Statin contribution to middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity in older adults at risk for dementia

Stacey E. Aaron, Tsubasa Tomoto, Rong Zhang, John P. Thyfault, Eric D. Vidoni, Robert N. Montgomery, Jeffrey M. Burns, Sandra A. Billinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: It is plausible that statins could improve cerebral blood flow through pleiotropic mechanisms. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the contribution of statins to cerebrovascular variables in older adults with dyslipidemia and familial history of dementia. Furthermore, we explored the interaction between statin use and sex due to prevalent bias in statin trials. Methods: Middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity (MCAv) was measured using transcranial Doppler ultrasound. Continuous supine rest recordings lasted 8 min. Participants included in analyses were statin (n = 100) or non-statin users (n = 112). Results: MCAv and cerebrovascular conductance were significantly higher in statin users (p = 0.047; p = 0.04), and pulsatility index (PI) was significantly lower in statin users (p < 0.01). An interaction effect between statin use and sex was present for PI (p = 0.02); female statin users had significantly lower cerebrovascular resistance than the other three groups. Conclusion: In this cross-sectional analysis, statin use was positively associated with cerebrovascular variables in older adults at risk for dementia. Female statin users had significantly higher resting MCAv and cerebrovascular conductance than female non-statin users. The greatest contribution of statin use was the association with reduced cerebrovascular resistance. Given that cerebrovascular dysregulation is one of the earliest changes in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia pathology, targeting the cerebrovasculature with statins may be a promising prevention strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cerebral blood flow velocity
  • Cerebrovascular
  • Dementia
  • Statin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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