Alzheimer’s Disease A study has found that people with higher levels of HDL cholesterol are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD) than people with lower levels of HDL. HDL stands for high density lipoprotein and is considered the good form of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps remove bad cholesterol from the body, clearing the arteries and helping to prevent heart disease. Researchers are not sure why having high levels of HDL cholesterol is protective against Alzheimer’s, but the information at hand suggests that a positive correlation exists and that more research should be done to examine that connection.

The study looked at 1,130 adults aged 65 or older living in New York, none of whom had signs of Alzheimer’s at the beginning of the study. While Alzheimer’s can only be officially diagnosed after death when an autopsy can perform be performed to confirm the presence of plaque on the brain, the researchers diagnosed many probable cases of Alzheimer’s as well as several confirmed cases over the course of the study.

At the end of the study, 101 participants had developed Alzheimer’s, and the HDL levels of these people were generally much lower than those of people who did not develop Alzheimer’s. Overall, the researchers found that people with high HDL levels were 60% less likely to develop the cognitive disease than people with low levels of HDL. Interestingly, the researchers did not find a correlation between high or low levels of LDL cholesterol and the development of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s:  A Leading Cause of Death in America

Over 5 million people in the US are Alzheimer’s sufferers reports the Alzheimer’s Association and the disease is currently ranked as the 6th leading cause of death in the US. The medical costs associated with Alzheimer’s are costing the US government billions of dollars every year, and the emotional toll that the disease takes on families is even worse.  This is due to the fact that Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia which is, in fact, a brain disorder.  When people have dementia their ability to perform their day-to-day activities diminishes with time and they often have to rely on their families and caregivers for physical, mental, and emotional support.  At this time, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.