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Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Articles:

Alzheimer's Disease: An Introduction   

Alzheimer's Disease  

Caregiving for the Alzheimer's patient: Is there a problem?  

Long- term Care and Dementia   Dementia: What are the various different diagnosis?  

Dementia Diagnosis Page #2  

Dementia Symptoms and Diagnosis  Page #3  

Dementia Symptoms and Executive Functioning  Page #4  

Alzheimer's Brain: Degenerative Changes   

Alzheimer's Brain: Degenerative Changes Page#2  

Cause of Alzheimer's Disease   

Alzheimer's Diagnosis  

Alzheimer's Care: 9 Ideas that Really Work - Page #1

Alzheimer's Care: 9 Ideas That Really Work - Page # 2   

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 Memory Protected By Good Cholesterol


A recent European study found that middle-aged people with lower levels of HDL cholesterol may be at a higher risk for memory decline, which could be a precursor to Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. 

The British study involving 3700 men and women, found that lower levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL cholesterol was linked to declining memory by the age of 60. These memory declines are believed to precede the development of dementias such as Alzheimer's disease. 

Experts have estimated that more people will develop Alzheimer's disease worldwide over the coming decades as the populations of older people in many countries have continued to increase significantly.  As more individuals are growing older, scientists are trying to identify risk factors that may precede the onset of dementia in an effort to find ways to prevent or postpone its occurrence. Archana Sing-Manoux of the French National Institute for Health and Research and the University College of London, who led the study, stated "Considering the way the population is aging-the 65 plus age group being the fastest-growing age group-we're facing a dementia time bomb." She hoped to focus attention on the possible benefits of higher levels of HDL cholesterol and protection against the loss of memory. 

Researchers gave a simple memory test that collected results when people were on the average of 55 years old, and then at a later time when they were at an average age of 60 years old. 

In memory tests, individuals had 20 words read to them and then were asked to write down as many words as they could remember in two minutes. At the age of 55, participants with low HDL cholesterol levels had a 25 7% higher risk of memory loss compared to other individuals with higher levels of HDL.  At the age of 60, individuals in the same low HDL category had a 53% higher risk of memory loss compared to study groups who had high levels of HDL. 

The study did not track subsequently if individuals in these groups went on to develop Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. 

Cholesterol is the fatty substance that is found in many foods and is also made naturally by the body.  High levels of HDL cholesterol have been found to reduce the risk of heart attacks.  The good or HDL cholesterol takes excess cholesterol back to the liver as opposed to the low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is believed to build up in artery walls making them hard and narrow and is considered to be the "bad" cholesterol.  The study did not find total cholesterol and triglycerides, which is another type of fat found in the blood to have any association with memory decline.  Although the study did not look at the reason behind the protective effects of HDL cholesterol, Singh-Manoux said that one possible explanation may be that it has a tendency to ward off the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain that are believed to be markers of Alzheimer's disease. 

Previous studies have also identified additional risk factors associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  U.S. researchers found in March that having a big belly in middle-age also appears to greatly increase an individual's risk of developing Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia decades later. 

Original report at Reuter’s June 30 ” Good” Cholesterol May Protect Memory, Study Finds by Will Dunham


Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate                                      

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