July 15, 2008 / 8:02 PM / 11 years ago

Statin drug no aid for a learning disability: study

CHICAGO (Reuters) - One form of statins, the cholesterol fighter that is the world’s top selling drug, does not appear to help children overcome a common, genetically linked learning disability, researchers said on Tuesday.

Studies involving mice with a condition called neurofibromatosis 1 had suggested that simvastatin helped correct the learning and attention deficits accompanying the disorder by altering brain activity.

But investigators led by Lianne Krab of Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Sophia Children’s Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, said a test on 62 children with the inherited condition found the drug did not help.

Neurofibromatosis 1 causes tumors involving nerve tissue resulting in problems with memory, motor skills and general cognitive disabilities. It affects one in every 3,000 children.

In the study conducted during 2006 and 2007 children with the condition were given either simvastatin or an inert placebo for three months.

“Simvastatin did not improve cognitive function in children” with the disorder and should not be suggested for that use, concluded the report published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

Simvastatin is often sold as Zocor, from Merck & Co, which was not involved in the study.

Reporting by Michael Conlon; editing by Andrew Stern

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