Since their approval in the late 1980s to prevent heart attack and stroke, statins have been heralded as a wonder medicine; the cholesterol-lowering drugs have been prescribed to tens of millions of individuals. However, some evidence suggests that the medications may have additional benefits, notably for mental health.
A new study looks at the impact of statins on emotional bias, a risk factor for depression.
The online observational study was undertaken from April 2020 to February 2021, during the height of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic, when worldwide stress levels were high, and the incidence of psychiatric problems was high. It was led by Amy Gillespie, Ph.D., of the University of Oxford in Oxford, UK.
Over 2,000 people in the United Kingdom filled up questionnaires on their current psychiatric symptoms, medications, and other factors. They also completed cognitive tests to assess memory, reward, and emotion processing, all of which have been associated with depression risk.
Participants were asked to identify the emotional expressions of faces that showed varying degrees of fear, happiness, sorrow, disgust, anger, or terror in one task.