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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Good Cholesterol Linked to Better Memory!

Brief summary of this recent post:

"Low HDL Cholesterol Is a Risk Factor for Deficit and Decline in Memory in Midlife"

Good Cholesterol Linked to Better Memory                    

The “good” type of cholesterol—high-density lipoprotein, or HDL—appears to help protect against heart attack and stroke. Now research suggests HDL may also be good for your memory.
Although scientists aren’t sure about the mechanism by which HDL might be linked to memory, the connection isn’t surprising: Research keeps turning up risk factors common to both cardiovascular disease and dementia.
In the latest study, published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, French and British scientists studied 3,673 men and women in a longterm study of British civil servants. Cholesterol levels were measured twice, at average ages 55 and 61, and shortterm verbal memory was tested at each point. Participants were read a 20-word list and asked to write down as many words as they could recall within two minutes.
Initially, participants with low HDL (less than 40 mg/dL) scored lower on the memory test than those with high HDL (60 mg/dL or higher), but the difference wasn’t statistically significant. After five years, however, the difference increased to become significant. Moreover, subjects whose HDL levels declined during the five-year interval were more likely to also show a decline in memory performance.
Neither total cholesterol nor triglyceride levels was associated with memory performance. There was no evidence of interaction with a known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
The researchers, led by Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD, of the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research, speculated that HDL might protect cognitive function by reducing the risk for stroke and vascular disease, or HDL could affect beta-amyloid, associated with plaques in the brain. Other possibilities might include anti-inflammatory or antioxidant effects on the degeneration of the brain’s neurons. An accompanying editorial concluded, “These studies demand that we focus more effort on research at the interface between HDL and brain function.”
You can maintain healthy HDL levels by avoiding tobacco and trans fats and by losing weight. Factors thought to boost HDL include exercise, moderate alcohol consumption and intake of soluble dietary fiber such as in oats, vegetables, fruits and legumes. It’s also a good idea to switch from saturated fats to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

TO LEARN MORE:Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Aug. 1, 2008; abstract at


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