Cholesterol link to dementia seen

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The “good” cholesterol that removes fatty plaque from the body may also be linked to memory, and low levels may indicate a risk for dementia, a British study found.

Researchers tracking the health of 3,673 British civil servants found that, at age 55, those with low levels of good cholesterol, known as HDL, were 27% more likely to have memory loss than those with high levels. The gap grew with time, so that memory problems were 53% more common in those with the least HDL by the time they hit age 60.

Still, it’s too soon to try to raise HDL to ward off dementia, researchers said. The lower HDL might simply be a sign of increased risk of memory loss or dementia, not a cause of the problem, they said. The study appears in the American Heart Assn.'s journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.