Could a Common Heart Medication Prevent Dementia?

For years, doctors have looked for treatments to prevent memory loss or dementia in patients.

Some studies suggest drugs that lower cholesterol, also called statins, may help prevent dementia. But more information is needed to understand the role and benefits of statins for older adults.

A study called PREVENTABLE is now enrolling participants in Kannapolis at the North Carolina Research Campus. The study will test if taking a statin can help prevent dementia, disability, and heart disease in adults aged 75 or older.

The Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) in Kannapolis and Durham is helping people join PREVENTABLE, one of the largest studies in older adults. MURDOCK Study participants are welcome to join PREVENTABLE, as well as any other community member who qualifies.

In Kannapolis, learn if you qualify by calling 704-273-5456 or emailing In Durham, call 919-613-6773 or email

Eventually, PREVENTABLE will include more than 20,000 participants across the United States. The study is designed to make participation easy for older adults, especially in a pandemicParticipants can join the study in person at the Duke Kannapolis office or at home by phone or video. Follow-ups can occur by phone, health records, or home visits. Participants will receive the study drug by mail.

“Patients often ask me what they can do to stay healthy, prevent dementia, and maintain independence,” said Karen Alexander, MD, a cardiologist at Duke University Medical Center and principal investigator for the study.

About one in three of people in the U.S. over the age 75 without heart disease take statins.

“Very few people start a statin after age 75 because we don’t have any proof that this drug improves the health of older adults,” said Alexander. “Results from PREVENTABLE will provide that evidence and help us understand if it makes sense to start a stain after the age of 75 to prevent dementia.”

PREVENTABLE researchers are partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association to make this study opportunity available to adults interested in advancing research on dementia. By participating in studies such as PREVENTABLE, you can help doctors learn if taking a statin can prevent dementia. Without the participation of people like you in studies, finding a cure is nearly impossible.

Learn more by visiting the website.

To find out if your doctor or health system is participating in PREVENTABLE, visit