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Cholesterol On The Brain PDF Print E-mail
Written by Scott Lafee   
Thursday, 09 January 2014 06:38

Unhealthy levels of cholesterol have long been linked to poorer heart health, but a new study suggests the ratio of "good" cholesterol to "bad" also has implications for the brain and, more specifically, the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease.

In a study out of the University of California, Davis, researchers found that a healthy ratio correlated with lower levels of amyloid plaque deposits in the brain -- a hallmark of Alzheimer's. The pattern, note the scientists, mirrors the relationship found in cardiovascular disease.

"Our study shows that higher levels of HDL -- good -- and lower levels of LDL -- bad -- cholesterol in the bloodstream are associated with lower levels of amyloid plaque deposits in the brain," says Bruce Reed, the lead author of the study.

The findings confirm longheld suspicions and are the first to specifically link cholesterol to amyloid deposits in a study involving living participants. In the United States, cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. For HDL, a level of 60 milligrams/deciliter or higher is best. For LDL, a level of 70 milligrams/deciliter or lower is recommended for people at high risk of heart disease.

"If you have an LDL above 100 or an HDL that is less than 40, even if you're taking a statin drug, you want to make sure that you are getting those numbers into alignment," said Charles DeCarli, director of the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center. "You want to get the HDL up and the LDL down."

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 January 2014 06:43