Middle-aged people with low levels of so-called good cholesterol may be at higher risk for memory decline that could foreshadow Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, European researchers said on Monday. The study, involving about 3,700 British men and women, found that falling levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol were linked to declining memory by age 60. Such memory declines often precede the development of dementia such as Alzheimer's in the elderly.
The findings will hopefully focus attention on the possible role of higher levels of HDL cholesterol in protecting against memory loss. The researchers looked at blood cholesterol readings and the results of a simple memory test collected when the people in the study were on average 55 years old and then again when they were on average 60. At age 55, those with low HDL cholesterol had a 27-percent higher risk of memory loss when compared to those with high HDL. At age 60, those with low HDL had a 53-percent higher risk of memory loss compared to those with high HDL levels. The study did not track whether or not the people went on to develop dementia. Low HDL was defined as less than 40 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and high HDL was defined as at least 60 mg/dL in the study, published in the American Heart Association's journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.
Steve - HDL is critical to heart and mental health. Beware of cholesterol ratios that are considered "too high" because of high HDL levels. That is a good thing!