BOSTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Statins, medications that lower cholesterol also appear to slow decline in lung function in the elderly -- even in those who smoke, a U.S. study found.
The study, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that subjects taking statins experienced a markedly slower annual decline in lung function.
Study researcher Dr. Joel Schwartz of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said the statins’ anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help achieve this effect.
"We hypothesized that statins would have a protective effect on decline in lung function," Schwartz said in a statement. "The link between lung function and mortality and the reduced levels of lung function in the elderly indicates the importance of a possibility of reducing the rate of decline."
To investigate whether statins had an effect of loss of lung function, the researchers used data from the ongoing and longitudinal Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study, which began in 1963. The researchers analyzed 803 subjects who had had their lung function measured at least twice between January 1995 and June 2005 as part of the Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study.