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Unhealthy cholesterol levels may contribute to development of Alzheimer's disease

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Cholesterol testing may not only predict an individual's risk of heart disease, according to a new study from Columbia University researchers, it may also indicate the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers reported in the Archives of Neurology that high levels of HDL, or "good," cholesterol may be associated with a decreased risk of developing the neurodegenerative disorder. Their findings may open the door for more effective treatments for the disease, as well as help millions of individuals avoid it entirely.

After studying more than 1,000 older individuals for several years, the researchers found that a majority of the participants who went on to develop Alzheimer's disease had unhealthy cholesterol levels.

"Dyslipidemia (high total cholesterol and triglycerides) and late-onset Alzheimer's disease are highly frequent in western societies," the authors wrote in their report. "In this study, higher levels of HDL cholesterol were associated with a decreased risk of both probable and possible Alzheimer's disease."

Cholesterol levels can be controlled through a combination of improved diet, increased physical activity levels and medications when necessary.

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