‘Good cholesterol’ may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease

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Medical guidelines meant to reduce the risk for heart disease focus on levels of cholesterol in the blood.

This includes low-density lipoproteins (LDL), labeled “bad cholesterol,” and high-density lipoproteins (HDL), labeled as “good.”

Scientists from the Keck School of Medicine of USC found an important connection between good cholesterol and brain health.

The research is published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association and was conducted by Hussein Yassine et al.

In the study, the team took samples of cerebrospinal fluid from 180 people aged 60 and older and measured the number of small HDL particles in each sample.

They found in the participants who took the cognitive tests, the ones with higher levels of small HDL particles in their cerebrospinal fluid performed better.

The correlation was even stronger among those who had no cognitive impairment.

The evidence suggests that these HDL particles may be key to finding treatments that would work early in the disease process, long before a cognitive decline occurs.

The team found that a higher number of good cholesterol in the fluid is linked to higher circulating levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of a particular peptide—like a protein, but smaller—called amyloid beta 42.

Although that peptide contributes to Alzheimer’s disease when it misfolds and clumps onto neurons, an increased concentration circulating around the brain and spine is actually linked to a lower risk for the disease.

This study shows the first time that small HDL particles in the brain have been counted.

The team examined HDL particles in the brain because of the many ways they keep the brain healthy.

They help form the sheathes that insulate the brain and nerve cells so they can quickly communicate amongst themselves, and they play a role in the growth and repair of neurons.

They also appear to help prevent inflammation of the barrier between the brain and blood system, which can result in cognitive decline.

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If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies about small changes in movement that may predict Alzheimer’s disease, and findings that deaths from Alzheimer’s are far more common in these places in the U.S.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about two common habits that can make your brain age fast, and results showing that COVID-related brain damage more likely in these people.

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