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High cholesterol 'increases Alzheimer's risk'

High cholesterol 'increases Alzheimer's risk'
4th August 2009

Elevated cholesterol levels in middle-age, even only a slightly higher count than normal, significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia, research shows.

A study of nearly 10,000 people by researchers at Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research and the University of Kuopio in Finland revealed that having high cholesterol in midlife increases the risk by two-thirds.

Even borderline cholesterol levels raise the chances for vascular dementia by more than half.

Published in the journal Dementia & Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, the research is the first to look at borderline cholesterol levels and vascular dementia.

"The good news here is that what is good for the heart is also good for the mind, and this is an early risk factor for dementia that can be modified and managed by lowering cholesterol through healthy lifestyle changes," commented senior author Rachel Whitmer.

Cholesterol is a vital fat for the body, but too much can lead to narrowing of the arteries, heart attacks and strokes.

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