Alzheimers associated with … low (!) cholesterol!

From the LA Times  Jan 4th 2008

Make Alzheimer’s a campaign issue

Re “No meeting of the minds — yet,” Dec. 27

The Times article on Alzheimer’s disease mentions the role of mutation of the ApoE protein, which destroys cholesterol. The nation’s longest-running heart health study, the Framingham Heart Study, has found that high cholesterol correlates positively with maintaining high cognitive functioning as people age. The higher the cholesterol levels, the better is memory, attention and concentration.

Our brains are largely composed of cholesterol, so perhaps the mutated protein is removing too much cholesterol from the brain, thereby causing the changes observed in Alzheimer’s. Perhaps the rising incidence of Alzheimer’s is the result of older people being placed on diets and medications that drastically reduce cholesterol.

Cholesterol might be necessary for maintaining cognitive functioning. The bad rap cholesterol has regarding heart health might actually be caused by other blood serum factors that are found in the company of cholesterol, and it is those factors, not the cholesterol, that need to be reduced for heart health.

John F. Rossmann

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