Study Suggests Excessive ‘Good’ Cholesterol Might Have Negative Impact on Dementia

Study Suggests Excessive ‘Good’ Cholesterol Might Have Negative Impact on Dementia

Maintaining high levels of HDL cholesterol, often deemed as beneficial for cardiovascular health, may have unforeseen consequences on cognitive well-being, according to recent research. While HDL cholesterol is renowned for its role in clearing bad cholesterol from the bloodstream, a study conducted by Monash University has suggested that excessively elevated levels of HDL may be associated with an increased risk of dementia.

The research delved into data from the Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial, tracking the health of over 19,000 elderly participants from the US and Australia since 2010. Although the primary focus was on the impact of daily aspirin use, the study provided valuable medical insights. At the study’s onset, none of the participants exhibited signs of dementia, physical disabilities, cardiovascular disease, or life-threatening illnesses.

Over a span of 6.3 years, the researchers observed a 27% higher likelihood of dementia development in individuals with HDL cholesterol levels exceeding 80 mg/dl compared to those with levels within the 40-60 mg/dl range, considered healthy. For participants aged over 75 with the same high HDL levels, the dementia rate increased to 42%. The study identified over 2,700 individuals with extremely high HDL levels, with 38 under 75 and 101 over 75 developing dementia.

The researchers suggest that metabolic disorders, rather than dietary factors, may be responsible for the elevated HDL levels observed in the study participants. While emphasizing the importance of HDL cholesterol in cardiovascular health, the study calls for further research to comprehensively understand the implications of very high HDL cholesterol on brain health. Lead author Monira Hussain advocates considering extremely high HDL cholesterol levels in dementia risk prediction algorithms and underscores the need for additional investigations into the intricate link between elevated HDL levels and dementia development.

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