‘Good’ cholesterol in brain may aid cognition, help prevent Alzheimer’s

Follow-up analyses showed a significant correlation between higher CSF levels of small HDLs and memory scores in adults with no cognitive impairment, but not in those with some impairment. Photo: Pexels

(Steve Bryson/ Alzheimer’s Today) — Higher levels of small high-density lipoprotein (HDL), known as “good cholesterol,” in the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord associated with a better performance on cognitive tests in older adults, a study reported.

Confirmation of a link between good cholesterol levels and cognitive outcomes in larger groups could lead to new biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and potential therapy targets for its prevention, its researchers noted.

“What we’re finding here is that before the onset of cognitive impairment, these oils — these small HDL particles — are lubricating the system and keeping it healthy,” Hussein Yassine, MD, a neurology professor with the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC), said in a university press release. “You’ve got a time to intervene with exercise, drugs or whatever else to keep brain cells healthy.” (…)

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