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High HDL may lower Alzheimer's risk

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Cholesterol testing may be important for more than just assessing heart risk. A new study has found that high levels of HDL, or good, cholesterol may be associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Dementia and other age-related cognitive diseases are quickly becoming among the leading causes of loss of mental function. Some studies have tied this phenomenon to poor diet, which includes food that is high in bad cholesterol.

Therefore the team of researchers from Columbia University figured that HDL, which has been connected to reduced heart risk, may also benefit cognitive function.

For the study, they followed 1,130 seniors who had no history of mental disease, giving them checkups every 18 months. They found that those with the highest levels of HDL were 60 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.

"Basically, what we found is that higher levels of good cholesterol decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease," Christiane Reitz, the study's lead author, told WebMD News. "For HDL, it seems to be an independent association with Alzheimer's disease with, independent of diabetes, high blood pressure and so on."

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