Can High Cholesterol Reduce The Chances of Dementia in The Elderly?

According to a study just published by The Alzheimer’s Association, people over the age of 85 with high levels of cholesterol have a reduced risk of marked cognitive decline.

Cholesterol is produced by the liver and is  also found in foods. It  is essential for normal functioning  of cells throughout the body, but has a bad reputation because it is linked to the development of heart disease. This link means that cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins are used to reduce cardiovascular disease risk, however, though very widely used, statin medications and their benefits vs their risks has always been a topic of controversy since their inception. Lipid substances like cholesterol are components of the lining of the nervous system’s cells, and crucial for the functioning of the brain.

The new study compared cognitive function in people of different ages. The research team looked at  data from the famous Framingham Heart Study, whose findings have for years been the basis of the tactic of lowering cholesterol to reduce heart disease risk.  The researchers evaluated cholesterol values during “midlife” (around age 40), and “late-life” total cholesterol (around age 75).

The researchers investigated whether cognitive decline was associated with any of the cholesterol values measured.

The study showed that at elevated  cholesterol levels since midlife, was associated with increased risk of a marked cognitive decline. However, as the age of the people studied increased, some of these associations were reduced or reversed. Most interestingly, in subjects aged 85 to 94, a high midlife total cholesterol level was associated with a reduced risk for marked cognitive decline.

One way in which this finding may be very important is for those on statin mediations which lower cholesterol. Is your statin medication lowering your cholesterol too much ?  Are you sacrifining your brain for the reduced cardiovascular risk of taking a statin medication?  These questions highlight the need for further study to answer these questions.

For more information, contact Dr. Henry Sobo at or at (203) 348 -8805. Click here to read more about Dr. Sobo’s research-proven program for the holistic treatment of Alzheimer’s!

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