Cholesterol Levels Linked to Brain Deposits That Cause Alzheimer’s

Cholesterol Levels Linked to Brain Deposits That Cause Alzheimer’s
Catharine Paddock, PhD
Writer, Medical News Today


A research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Neurology shows that high “good” and low “bad” cholesterols are great for the heart and brain. “Good” cholesterols are high-density lipoproteins (HDL) while “bad” cholesterols are low-density lipoproteins (LDL). The study, led by University of California Davis (UC Davis) Neurology Professor Bruce Reed, shows that good and bad cholesterol levels could affect amyloid plaque deposits in the brain.

confused senior male royalty-free stock photo

Few studies show that people with high cholesterol are more inclined to have Alzheimer’s disease. This research, though, is the first to link cholesterol to amyloid plaques in the brain. As stated by Professor Reed, the unhealthy pattern of cholesterol, which triggers high levels of amyloid known to cause Alzheimer’s, likewise, boosts the chances of heart disease.

Healthcare: Man clutching his chest in pain, possible heart attack. royalty-free stock photo

The study comprised 74 men and women, 70 and older, who visit the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, stroke clinics, and senior centers. The members include 3 persons with mild dementia, 38 with mild cognitive problem, and 33 without cognitive issues. Each went through fasting blood sugar tests and brain PET* scans. In the latter test, scientists dyed amyloid plaques through a tracer that ties them.

After conducting the tests, experts now link the lower levels of HDL and higher levels of LDL to a few forms of Alzheimer’s. As mentioned by Charles DeCarli, study co-author and neurologist from UC Davis, these findings must be a “wake-up call” for everyone. By controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, our brains will be healthy as we age. As what DeCarli told, people with over 100 LDL or below 40 HDL should align those numbers even if they are taking a statin drug. Statin lowers cholesterol by blocking the liver enzyme that produces fat.

Last, the American Heart Association warned people to control their weight, diet, activity, and exposure to tobacco smoke because these affect cholesterol levels, too.

Reaction: Dr. Paddock writes well. She used words that made me grasp her article better. At first, though, I find the title dull because it did not stir my interest. As for the write-up, the study is crucial and well timed because it warns us on our health and safety. Thus, we should heed the tips of experts in this study to shun negative health effects as expressed by the writer.

Vocabulary words

  • Alzheimer’s disease — a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age caused by generalized degeneration of the brain
  • Amyloid plaques — sticky buildup that accumulates outside the nerve cells or neurons
  • Chronic — continuing or occurring repeatedly for a long time
  • Dementia — describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Two common dementias are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia
  • E4 variant — one of the three common variants of the APOE gene; the largest known genetic risk factor for late-onset sporadic Alzheimer’s disease in a variety of ethnic groups
  • HDL — high-density lipoprotein is the “good” cholesterol that cruises the bloodstream to remove harmful bad cholesterol (LDL) from where it doesn’t belong
  • LDL — low-density lipoprotein is the “bad” cholesterol that collects in the walls of blood vessels where it can cause blockages

*PET scan — positron emission tomography scan is an imaging test that allows doctors to check human bodies for diseases, using a special dye with radioactive tracers


Paddock, C. (2013, December 31). “Cholesterol levels linked to brain deposits that cause Alzheimer’s.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from


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