Statins and Long-Term Risk of Dementia after Concussion

Donald Redelmeier, MD Sunnybrook Research Institute


Concussion affects about one million North Americans each year, disproportionately involving people over age 65 years (seniors). Alzheimer’s disease is a potential long-term consequence of concussion in seniors, and strategies to prevent such subsequent disorders are a priority for research. Recent studies suggest that statins (cholesterol lowering medications) have protective effects that might prevent short-term complications of concussion by reducing brain swelling, preserving blood flow, lessening inflammation, and preventing cell death. We propose a computerized study linking multiple healthcare databases (anticipated sample size = 30,000, median follow-up duration = 10 years) to test whether statin treatment might decrease the risk of subsequent dementia in seniors following a concussion.

Project Details

We hypothesize that statins might lower the risk of dementia after a concussion. We are conducting a population-based study linking multiple healthcare databases to test whether statin treatment is associated with a decreased risk of subsequent dementia among seniors following a concussion. The study population consists of senior adults diagnosed with an acute concussion in Ontario, Canada. Our primary outcome is the incidence of subsequent dementia over a ten-year median follow-up. Our pilot data suggest that statin medications might be associated with a statistically significant and clinically meaningful reduction in the subsequent risk of dementia following a concussion. 

If successful, this study may identify a new strategy for preventing neurodegenerative disorders in seniors after a concussion.