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No Cholesterol-Alzheimer’s Association Seen in Midlife

Last Updated: November 11, 2010.

Midlife cholesterol does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, though there may be a very small risk in individuals who live to an age at risk for dementia, according to research published online Nov. 10 in Neurology.

THURSDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Midlife cholesterol does not appear to be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, though there may be a very small risk in individuals who live to an age at risk for dementia, according to research published online Nov. 10 in Neurology.

Michelle M. Mielke, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues examined baseline and follow-up data for 1,462 women collected between 1968 and 2001 looking for an association between cholesterol and dementia at the population level. The women were free of dementia at baseline.

The researchers found no association between higher cholesterol levels in 1968 and an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease in those who survived to and participated in the last examination in 2000 to 2001. A time-dependent decrease in cholesterol, however, did appear associated with an increased risk of dementia.

"These data suggest that midlife cholesterol level is not associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. However, there may be a slight risk among those surviving to an age at risk for dementia. Declining cholesterol levels from midlife to late life may better predict Alzheimer's disease risk than levels obtained at one time point prior to dementia onset. Analytic strategies examining this and other risk factors across the lifespan may affect interpretation of results," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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