People with high cholesterol in their early 40s are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those with low cholesterol, according to research being presented this week in Chicago at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting.
The senior author of this study was Rachel Whitmer, PhD, a research scientist with Kaiser Permanente Division of Research (Oakland, CA). The findings of her team show it would be best for patients to attack high cholesterol levels while in their 40s to reduce the risk of dementia.
"High mid-life cholesterol increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease regardless of midlife diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and late-life stroke," said the authors.
The study involved 9,752 men and women in northern California who underwent health evaluations between 1964 and 1973 when they were between the ages of 40 and 45 and remained with the same health plan through 1994. From 1994 to 2007, researchers obtained the participants' most recent medical records to find 504 people had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and 162 had vascular dementia.
The study found people with total cholesterol levels between 249 and 500 milligrams were one-and-a-half times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those people with cholesterol levels of less than 198 milligrams. People with total cholesterol levels of 221 to 248 milligrams were more than one-and-a-quarter times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.