'Good' Cholesterol Just Got Better

High levels of HDL cholesterol may be linked to decreased risk of Alzheimer's

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) High levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the "good" cholesterol, may be associated with a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease in older adults.

In the study Christiane Reitz, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at Columbia University's Taub Institute, New York, analyzed 1,130 older adults to examine the association of blood lipid (fat) levels with Alzheimer's disease and upon followup, found 101 new cases of Alzheimer's disease, of which 89 were probable cases and 12 were possible cases. The study included a random sampling of Medicare recipients 65 or older residing in northern Manhattan. The patients had no history of dementia or cognitive impairment.

Higher levels of HDL cholesterol (55 milligrams per deciliter or more) in plasma were linked to a decreased risk of both probable and possible Alzheimer's disease, even after adjusting for vascular risk factors and lipid-lowering treatments. HDL is thought to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it's passed from the body.

"In this study, higher levels of HDL cholesterol were associated with a decreased risk of both probable and possible Alzheimer's disease," the authors wrote. "An important consideration in the interpretation of the results is that it was conducted in an urban multiethnic elderly community with a high prevalence of risk factors for mortality and dementia."

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Review Date: 
December 14, 2010
Last Updated:
December 14, 2010