People with high cholesterol levels run a higher risk of early Alzheimer's disease, research suggests
- About 200,000 have Alzheimer's disease that started before the age of 65
- The early form of the disease accounts for only five to ten percent of the cases
- Four genes represent approximately 10 percent of the risk of early Alzheimer's
- But a new study from Emory University discovered that high & # 39; bad & # 39; cholesterol, regardless of genetics, can increase risk
High cholesterol increases the risk of early Alzheimer's disease and may even cause devastating brain disorder, new research suggests.
A link between the more general late form of Alzheimer's and high & # 39; bad & # 39; Cholesterol has been established by several studies, but the type of disease that starts before the age of 65 is not well understood.
Researchers at the Atlanta Veteran & # 39; s Affairs Hospital and Emory University have discovered that blood cholesterol can significantly increase the risk of an early-onset disease, regardless of whether you fear the & Alzheimer's disease. gene & # 39; have.
The findings of the new study suggest that a healthier diet can help prevent the onset of crippling memory loss.
About 200,000 Americans have early Alzheimer's disease and high cholesterol levels can be much more at greater risk of the devastating memory disease
There are four genes that appear to increase risk for early Alzheimer's disease.
Together, these genes probably make up about 14 percent of the 200,000 early Alzheimer's cases in the US.
More than five million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, which usually strikes after the age of 65, but between five and ten percent develop memory loss from their forties or fifties.
Some who inherit particularly risky genes for the disease can lose their memories in their 30s.
Like older Alzheimer patients, there is no way to make an unambiguous diagnosis of the younger Alzheimer's disease until autopsy can be performed after death.
Tests given to diagnose the disease remain relatively subjective, treatments are minimally effective and there is no cure.
Scientists hope that by better understanding the causes and risks of the disease, they can come closer to the development of treatments or perhaps prevent the disease altogether.
But until gene therapies for Alzheimer's have fully developed, nothing can be done about the risks of Alzheimer's in someone's DNA.
Instead, the Emory scientists looked at a simpler changed risk factor: cholesterol.
They focused specifically on low density lipoprotein (LDL) or & # 39; poor & # 39; cholesterol.
They assessed blood samples and DNA from 2,125 people, 654 of whom were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease with early onset.
About 10 percent of early-onset Alzheimer participants had a variation on the APOE gene that is closely associated with the disease.
Another three percent had at least one of three other risk genes, according to the study, published in JAMA Neurology.
But that meant that the vast majority of the group had unexplained Alzheimer's with early onset.
A possible explanation lay in the tests for blood cholesterol levels.
Men and women with high LDL had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's at a young age, regardless of their genetic risks.
& # 39; The big question is whether there is a causal link between blood cholesterol levels and the risk of Alzheimer's disease & # 39 ;, said Dr. Thomas Wingo, neurologist and principal investigator.
& # 39; The existing data has been obscure at this point. An interpretation of our current data is that LDL cholesterol plays a causal role. If that is the case, we may need to review LDC cholesterol targets to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. & # 39;
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