LIFESTAT – University of Copenhagen


This is an interdisciplinary project that leverages approaches and knowledge from medicine, the humanities and the social sciences to analyze the impact of statin use on health, life-style and well-being in a cohort of Danish citizens.

The impetus for the present project is the fact that more than 600,000 Danes are currently taking statins as a preventive treatment for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Statins are widely prescribed throughout the developed world to lower blood cholesterol and reduce CVD events and are generally well tolerated. However, through incompletely understood mechanisms, statins are reported to cause muscle pain (myalgia) in 20-30% of users, and predominantly (up to 75%) in people who are physically active. This is counterproductive for health, because it reduces patient compliance in achieving target levels of daily physical activity.

The acceptable level of blood cholesterol and acceptable CVD risk are somewhat arbitrary, and the typical patient receives knowledge on these and other health issues from a variety of sources. Although the pathways by which information flows to the patient and the patient’s perception of risk vary from individual to individual, patterns may exist.

The LIFESTAT project will investigate the biological consequences of statin treatment of high blood cholesterol, patient perception of disease risk and the way risk of CVD is managed in the context of a patient’s daily life. In essence, LIFESTAT investigates the complex interplay between medical knowledge, healthy behavior, life-style choices and moral/medical imperative.

Targeted aims of LIFESTAT include:

  • Determine the biochemical and physiological phenotypes of statin users with and without myalgia.
  • Identify and characterize potential biochemical, physiological, lipidomic and metabolomic markers of statin-induced myalgia.
  • Analyze the relationships between economic, social, cultural and biological processes influencing perception of disease risk and compliance to CVD prevention.
  • Identify and characterize patterns of perceived CVD risk in statin users.
  • Identify a typology of different beliefs about statins and behavioral practices.

In order to achieve this, a gathering of different research disciplines is required. This project is also funded by the University of Copenhagen Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research. (UCHP2016).