Clinical trial to study benefits of statins in prevention of heart attacks and strokes

Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., the first Sir Richard Doll Professor and senior academic advisor to the dean in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, recently published a commentary in the American Journal of Medicine, about the benefits of statins in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes in subjects previously thought at too low a risk to be treated. Hennekens' colleagues include Nicolas Breuer, M.D., affiliate assistant professor, Ira J. Gelb, M.D., emeritus professor of cardiology and senior advisor to the dean for prebaccalauerate programs and David J. Bjorkman M.D., M.S.P.H., dean and executive director of medical affairs in FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, and Jeffrey S. Borer, M.D., professor and chair of medicine at State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center and Marc A. Pfeffer, M.D., Ph.D., Dzau professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Hennekens and colleagues present new clinical and public health challenges with respect to the use of statins in primary prevention of heart attacks and strokes in apparently healthy subjects at low risk. Hennekens states that the evidence suggests that the more widespread and appropriate utilization of statins, as adjuncts, not alternatives to therapeutic lifestyle changes will yield net benefits in low risk , primary prevention patients, including those unwilling or unable to adopt therapeutic lifestyle changes.

Hennekens and colleagues conclude that "the available data suggest that there is no threshold for low density lipoprotein cholesterol below which there are no net benefits of statins. Therefore, there are new and emerging clinical challenges to healthcare providers suggesting the need for wider utilization of statins in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes."

Science Watch ranked Hennekens as the third most widely cited medical researcher in the world from 1995-2005, and five of the top 20 were his former trainees and/or fellows. In addition, in 2012 Science Heroes, ranked Hennekens no. 81 in the history of the world for having saved more than 1.1 million lives.


Florida Atlantic University


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