High Total Cholesterol Neuroprotective Against Cognitive Decline

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Risk of cognitive decline is reduced for older patients with high cholesterol.
Risk of cognitive decline is reduced for older patients with high cholesterol.

HealthDay News — The risk of cognitive decline is reduced for people age 85 years and older with high cholesterol, according to a study published online in Alzheimer's & Dementia.

Jeremy M. Silverman, PhD, and James Schmeidler, PhD, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, analyzed data from 1897 participants in the Framingham Heart Study with intact cognition at baseline. Using Cox regression analysis, associations between incident marked cognitive decline and total cholesterol were assessed.

The researchers found significant associations between rising total cholesterol linear slope, low entry age, low education, and statin non-use. Risk diminished significantly by outcome age. Falling linear slope was significant at 85 to 94 years.

"The protected survival model posits a minority subpopulation with protection against mortality and cognitive decline associated with total cholesterol risk factors," the authors write. 

"It predicts the observed diminished or reversed cholesterol associations with increasing age. Protection is particularly likely for successful cognitive aging -- intact cognition at very old age -- despite increased risk from cholesterol."


Silverman JM, Schmeidler J. Outcome age-based prediction of successful cognitive aging by total cholesterol [published online March 1, 2018]. Alzheimers Dement. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2018.01.009

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