Monday, October 15, 2007

Cholesterol and cognitive decline | Health & Nutrition by Michael R. Eades, M.D.

Cholesterol and cognitive decline | Health & Nutrition by Michael R. Eades, M.D.

The majority of the medical data out there shows that a higher cholesterol is correlated with better health and longevity among the retirement set, but few of them know it. And fewer yet know that a lower cholesterol level is associated with cognitive decline.

If there is one thing that elderly people fear more than heart disease and cancer it is probably Alzheimer’s disease or any kind of mental decline. Unfortunately, their fixation on their cholesterol levels are herding more and more of them in that very direction.

The brain represents about 2 percent of a person’s overall weight yet contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in that person’s body. Just those figures alone ought to tell you that cholesterol is pretty important in cognitive function, but most people aren’t aware of those figures. And won’t learn them from the mainstream press (which get’s its info from the pharmaceutically-driven medical press), but will continue mistakenly to think of cholesterol only in terms of heart disease risk.

A group of researchers in the Netherlands did a study looking at cholesterol levels and cognitive decline and found that the elderly with the highest cholesterol levels were able to think better than their counterparts with low levels of cholesterol. Their paper has been accepted by the journal Neurobiology of Aging, and is awaiting publication.

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