High levels of ‘good’ cholesterol could lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, study claims

Published 14 December 2010

High levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or ‘good’ cholesterol, could lessen the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease in older adults, claims a study.

The study was published in Archives of Neurology on Monday, 13 December.

US researchers studied 1,130 older adults to explore the links between fat levels in the blood and Alzheimer's disease. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol were linked with a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, even when allowing for vascular dementia risk factors and treatments to lower blood fat levels.

Alzheimer's Society comment:

'This large study links 'good' cholesterol (HDL) with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. This is interesting because until now, researchers have focused on the associations between 'good' cholesterol and vascular dementia. The best way to reduce your risk of dementia is to get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked, eat a healthy Mediterranean-style diet and watch your weight.

'More research is now needed to fully understand the link between HDL cholesterol and the processes that lead to Alzheimer's disease.  Yet the government invests eight times less in dementia research than cancer research. If we want to see the same advancements in dementia care as we have for cancer we must invest more.'

Dr Susanne Sorensen
Head of Research
Alzheimer's Society

Research Reference:  'Association of Higher Levels of High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Elderly Individuals and Lower Risk of Late-Onset Alzheimer Disease', by Christiane Reitz et al, in Archives of Neurology, December 2010. 

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