Controversial Recommendation to Consider Statins for Kids with High Cholesterol

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new cholesterol screening and treatment recommendations for children that suggest cholesterol screening, and possible use of statins for certain children.

The policy statement, “Lipid Screening and Cardiovascular Health in Childhood,” recommends cholesterol screening of children and adolescents with a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease. It also recommends screening patients whose family history is unknown or those who have other factors for heart disease including obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes.

The AAP suggests that screening should take place after age two, but no later than age 10. The best method for testing, according to the organization’s policy statement, is a fasting lipid profile. If a child has values within the normal range, testing should be repeated in three to five years.

The American Academy of Pedatrics suggests that for children who are more than eight years old and who have high LDL concentrations, cholesterol-reducing medications should be considered. Younger patients with elevated cholesterol readings should focus on weight reduction and increased activity while receiving nutritional counseling.

The policy statement also recommends the use of reduced-fat dairy products, such as two percent milk, for children as young as one year of age for whom overweight or obesity is a concern.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, July 7, 2008

Surprising Statin Finding: Slowing the Decline in Lung Functioning

In a recent paper published by the American Thoracic Society (October 2007), the use of statins appears to slow down the rate in which lung function declines in the senior population. More surprisingly, the decline decrease also is evident in smokers.

The researchers postulate that statins’ known anti-inflammatory properties (along with antioxidant properties) cause this effect.

Dr. Joel Schwartz, the lead researcher on the study, and a professor of environmental epidemiology at Harvard School of Public health, points out that his study shows the importance of "a possibility of reducing the rate of decline."

The primary indication for prescription of statins such as Lipitor and Zocor is for the treatment of high cholesterol.

Source: American Thoracic Society