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Effects of lovastatin and pravastatin on cognitive function in military aircrew.

Author(s): Gibellato MG, Moore JL, Selby K, Bower EA

Affiliation(s): Department of Internal Medicine, Naval Hospital Pensacola, FL 32512-0003, USA.

Publication date & source: 2001-09, Aviat Space Environ Med., 72(9):805-12.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: As evidence has accumulated for the role of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors in the primary prevention of coronary artery disease, younger individuals with no other co-morbid conditions will be increasingly exposed to these agents. Some HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors have been reported to cause impairment of daytime cognitive processes that have the potential to directly impact the ability of pilots and other aircrew to perform. These studies suggested that there might be cognitive effects of these medications that would argue against their routine use in populations whose activities required high, sustained levels of cognitive performance. The objective of this study is to establish the effects of pravastatin and lovastatin on aircrew daytime cognitive function using tests that are correlated with actual cockpit tasks and inflight performance. METHODS: Military aircrew with hypercholesterolemia were enrolled in the study and assigned to lovastatin, pravastatin or placebo groups. Baseline cognitive and vigilance testing was performed with computerized test instruments. Following a 4-wk treatment period, subjects were retested on both cognitive and vigilance tasks. RESULTS: Laboratory studies confirmed that both medications were effective in lowering cholesterol. No major treatment-related side effects were encountered. Cognitive performance was not affected by either active treatment, and was not different from that of the placebo group. CONCLUSIONS: The tested medications did not have significant effects on performance as measured by two computerized performance tests. The data suggest that neither medication has significant effects on flight-related performance.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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