High LDL linked to early-onset Alzheimer's – Alzheimer’s Society comment

Researchers with the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Emory University have found a link between high LDL cholesterol levels and early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

The results could help doctors understand how the disease develops and what the possible causes are, including genetic variation.

According to Dr. Thomas Wingo, lead author of the study, the results show that LDL cholesterol levels may play a causal role in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

The results appear in the May 28, 2019, issue of JAMA Neurology.

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, commented,

'We cannot currently slow down, stop or cure dementia but understanding more about the tiny changes that take place in the brain may help us make progress. This is why the suggested link between cholesterol and young-onset Alzheimer’s disease in this study could be significant.

'It is still difficult to know if this relatively small study has the answers to the relationship between raised LDL cholesterol levels and young-onset Alzheimer’s disease, as we cannot be certain that there is a causal relationship here. What we do know is that a healthy diet, regular exercise and avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol can reduce dementia risk, as what’s good for the heart is good for the head.

'Understanding the causes of young-onset Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other types of dementia, is a priority for our researchers at the UK Dementia Research Institute, alongside our research to improve care for the 850,000 people already living with dementia.'