The results of a 2-year Dutch study revealed that statin drugs can safely reduce high cholesterol levels and possibly reverse the clogging of arteries in children with inherited high cholesterol. Acondition known as familial hypercholesterolemia is found in 1 of every 500 children worldwide and can lead to heart attacks at a very early age.

Cholesterol levels fell by 24% in the children aged 8 to 18 who received pravastatin for 2 years. In addition, artery narrowing reversed by an average of 10 micrometers, with no serious side effects. Three months before receiving the statins, the participants had gone on a 3-month, low-fat diet, but the average LDL level had remained at 239?100 points higher than recommended. This may have been the first study to show that kind of reversibility.