This is from a book about the MEMORY LOSS caused by statins. The writer is a former U.S. ASTRONAUT AND FAMILY DOCTOR. http://www.spacedoc.net/lipitor_thief_of_memory.html Binding: Trade paperback Publisher: Infinity Publishing, Haverford, PA Date Published: January 2004 ISBN: 0-7414-1881- 91 Description: 156 pages; 5.5 x 8.5 (inches) Price: US$17.95 Source: Buy Books on the Web.com Excerpt: My personal introduction to the incredible world of TGA occurred six weeks after Lipitor® was started during my annual astronaut physical at Johnson Space Center. My cholesterol had been trending upward for several years and all was well until six weeks later when my wife found me aimlessly walking about the yard after I returned from my usual walk in the woods. I did not recognize her, reluctantly accepted cookies and milk and refused to go into my now unfamiliar home. I "awoke" six hours later in the office of the examining neurologist with the diagnosis of transient global amnesia, cause unknown. My MRI several days later was normal. Since Lipitor® was the only new medicine I was on, the doctor in me made me suspect a possible side effect of this drug and, despite the protestations of the examining doctors that statin drugs did not do this, I stopped my Lipitor®. The year passed uneventfully and soon it was time for my next astronaut physical. NASA doctors joined the chorus I had come to expect from physicians and pharmacists during the preceding year, that statin drugs did not do this and at their bidding I reluctantly restarted Lipitor® at one-half the previous dose. Six weeks later I again descended into the black pit of amnesia, this time for twelve hours and with a retrograde loss of memory back to my high school days. During that terrible interval, when my entire adult life had been eradicated, I had no awareness of my marriage and four children, my medical school days, my ten adventure-filled years as a USAF flight surgeon, my selection as scientist astronaut or my post retirement decade as a writer of medical fiction. The names of my books were like the names of my children – gone from my mind as completely as if they had never happened. Fortunately, and typically for this obscure condition, my memory returned spontaneously and again I drove home listening to my wife's amazing tale of how my day (and hers) had gone. Transient global amnesia is the sudden inability to formulate new memory, known as anterograde amnesia, combined with varying degrees of retrograde memory loss, sometimes for decades into the past. Until recently, the most common trigger events for these abrupt and completely unheralded amnesia cases have been sudden vigorous times quite subtle, and cerebral angiography. In the past four years a new trigger agent has been added – the use of the stronger statin drugs such as Lipitor®, Zocor® and Mevacor®. Transient global amnesia is but the tip of the iceberg of the many other forms of statin associated memory lapses that are reported from distraught patients. Far more common are symptoms of disorientation, confusion and unusual forgetfulness. These lesser forms of memory impairment can be easily missed in many individuals because, to a certain degree, that is the nature of us all. The development of statin drugs was an inevitable phenomenon. When two molecules of HMG-CoA next combined to form the ubiquitous mevalonic acid, the enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase was required. This enzyme could quite easily be inhibited and suddenly a multibillion-dollar industry was born with the development of the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors known as the stain drugs. Whether Lipitor®, Mevacor®, Zocor®, Pravachol® or the ill-fated Baycol®, all use the same mechanism and are merely variations of the same process as marketed by different pharmaceutical companies to insure market access. Statin drugs, while curtailing cholesterol, must inevitably inhibit the production of other vital intermediary products that originate further down the metabolic pathway beyond the statin blockade. The pharmaceutical industry has long been attempting to develop a means by which interference with cholesterol production might be achieved beyond the point where these vital intermediary product originate but up to now have failed. The inevitability of significant, serious and even lethal side effects has been knowingly accepted. Ubiquinone coenzyme production is one of these collaterally damaged compounds of great concern. Biosynthesized in the mitochondria--the tiny powerhouse of the cell that is responsible for cellular respiration and energy--ubiquinone is mandatory for proper cardiac muscle function and the health and well being of muscle cells and peripheral nerves. In addition to statin myopathy and rhabdomyolysis we now are seeing peripheral neuropathy and congestive cardiac failure. The dolichols are another area of collateral damage from statin use. This class of compounds are involved in an intricate process of cellular activity involving message transport. Proteins manufactured there in response to DNA directives are packaged into transport vesicles that are shuttled across the cytoplasm to their various destinations. Without dolichols there would be intracellular chaos as various proteins could not be directed to their proper target and would, in effect, be dead-lettered. The post office analogy, though childishly simple, comes very close to describing dolichol's function as we understand it today. And there is more, much more. On 9 November 2001 Dr. Pfreiger of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science announced to the world the discovery of the identity of the elusive synaptogenic factor responsible for the development of the highly specialized contact sites between adjacent neurons in the brain known as synapses. Not surprisingly to specialists in the field, the synaptogenic factor was shown to be the notorious substance cholesterol! The so-called glial cells of the brain, long suspected of providing certain housekeeping functions, were shown to produce their own supply of cholesterol for the specific purpose of providing nerve cells with this vital synaptic component. Since the lipoproteins that mediate the transport of cholesterol, including both LDL and HDL, are too large to pass the blood-brain barrier, the brain cannot tap the cholesterol supply in the blood. The brain must depend upon its own cholesterol synthesis, which the glial cells provide. The highly lipophilic statin drugs easily cross the blood/brain barrier and interfere directly with glial cell synthesis of cholesterol. There is no doubt that the present notoriety of cholesterol has all but obscured its physiological importance and necessity in our bodies. Cholesterol is not only the most common organic molecule in our brain, it is also distributed intimately throughout our entire body. It is an essential constituent of the membrane surrounding every cell. The presence of cholesterol in this fatty double layer of the cell wall adjusts the fluid level and rigidity of this membrane to the proper value for both cell stability and function. Additionally, cholesterol is metabolized into other essential body steroids known as the steroid hormones and is therefore the sole source for the formation of the control the reproductive process and make possible our very existence. The pharmaceutical industry would lead us to believe that rapidly bottoming out our natural cholesterol levels through the use of their highly touted statin drugs is a relatively innocuous process of definite benefit to society. But as we learn more each day of this ubiquitous and unique substance, we must question the veracity of their medical advisors. Cholesterol is perhaps the most important substance in our lives. And now we are learning that statin's role in cardiovascular risk reduction may have little or nothing to do with cholesterol or LDL levels and depend instead upon anti-inflammatory mechanisms unique to this class of drugs. Surprisingly, we are discovering that our 40-year war on cholesterol through the use of drugs and the now infamous low fat/low cholesterol diet seems to have been grossly misdirected. We have become a nation of fattened sheep, prone to type 2 diabetes and with unchanged proneness to arteriosclerosis. Despite this rapidly growing reality, our public still remains desperately focused on cholesterol and statin sales have never been more aggressively marketed. Duane ' Doc' Graveline Author Biography Duane Edgar Graveline MD, MPH Born and raised in Newport, Vermont, Dr. Graveline fondly recalls his life on a dairy farm during the depression era and his eight years at the nearby one-room school where the same teacher guided him from the alphabet through algebra. Following graduation from the Vermont College of Medicine in 1955, Dr. Graveline interned at the famed Walter Reed Army Hospital during the time our space pioneers were just beginning to study the medical effects of spaceflight. Becoming a flight surgeon and doing space medical research was almost inevitable to this young doctor with stars in his eyes. Soon came the Today show, international recognition for his research on zero gravity deconditioning , his unique position as medical analyst of the Soviet bioastronautics program, assignment as NASA flight controller and finally, in 1965, his selection as a scientist astronaut.