August 04, 2009
Even Moderate Cholesterol Elevation Boosts Dementia

For the sake fo your brain get your cholesterol down below 200.

Elevated cholesterol levels in midlife even levels considered only borderline elevated significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia later in life, according to a new study by researchers at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research and the University of Kuopio in Finland. The study appears in the journal Dementia & Geriatric Cognitive Disorders.

The four-decade study of 9,844 men and women found that having high cholesterol in midlife (240 or higher milligrams per deciliter of blood) increases, by 66 percent, the risk for Alzheimer's disease later in life. Even borderline cholesterol levels (200 239 mg/dL) in midlife raised risk for late-life vascular dementia by nearly the same amount: 52 percent. Vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, is a group of dementia syndromes caused by conditions affecting the blood supply to the brain. Scientists are still trying to pinpoint the genetic factors and lifestyle causes for Alzheimer's disease.

The study is the biggest to date to look at this question.

By measuring cholesterol levels in 1964 to 1973 based on the 2002 Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines (the current practice standard) when the Kaiser Permanente Northern California members were 40 to 45 years old, then following the participants for 40 years, this study is the largest long-term study with the most diverse population to examine the midlife cholesterol levels and late-life dementia. It is also the first study to look at borderline high cholesterol levels and vascular dementia, rather than just Alzheimer's disease.

To get your cholesterol lower eat lots of low carbo plant matter. Make like an ape man.

If you can't get your cholesterol low enough with diet and exercise then consider statins.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 August 04 10:59 PM  Aging Diet Brain Studies

Mitch said at August 5, 2009 7:51 AM:

I understand the correlation but not the causation. Either high-cholesterol levels result in increased risk of dementia, or those with increased risk of dementia exhibit high levels of cholesterol.

Lou Pagnucco said at August 5, 2009 8:19 AM:

I agree with Mitch.

The news release doesn't state that confounding variables (diet, weight, etc.) were accounted for.

Still, the advice is probably good.

Jake said at August 6, 2009 3:28 AM:

Here is a response to that study by a lipid scientist:

"The study is observational and generates the rather stupid hypothesis that plasma cholesterol, which essentially never interacts with the CNS cholesterol pool, "causes" AD.

A more sensible hypothesis is that whatever elevates midlife cholesterol levels is a causal agent for AD. I would suggest fructose as number one, all those VLDLs ending up as LDLs. The second is hyperglycaemia, which adds to both the glycation and oxidation of those LDL particles, decreasing uptake and giving a marker for how much sugar and starch a person has consumed. The brain uses the Glut3 transporter to control insulin's action for glucose delivery. Too early for people to be looking for insulin resistance in the brain, but it will be there, probably triggered by hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinaemia."

So a better answer is a low carb, very low fructose diet with carbs replaced with none omega 6 fats and protein.

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