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August 6, 2009

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Cholesterol link to Alzheimer's

PEOPLE who have even slightly elevated cholesterol when they are middle-aged have a higher risk of dementia later on, researchers reported.

The study of nearly 10,000 people found that those with high cholesterol in their 40s - a reading of 240 or higher - had a 66-percent higher risk of Alzheimer's disease 40 years later.

People whose cholesterol was 200 to 239 had a 52-percent higher risk in old age than people with lower levels, the team at the University of Kuopio in Finland and Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research in US state of California reported on Tuesday.

"Our study shows that even moderately high cholesterol levels in your 40s puts people at greater risk for Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia decades later," Rachel Whitmer of the research team said in a statement.

"Considering that nearly 100 million Americans have either high or borderline cholesterol levels, this is a disturbing finding. The good news here is that what is good for the heart is also good for the mind, and this is an early risk factor for dementia that can be modified and managed by lowering cholesterol through healthy lifestyle changes."


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