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Health Team

Good cholesterol can lower Alzheimer's risk

Posted December 21, 2010

Keeping an eye on your cholesterol can have big benefits for your brain, a new study finds.

"Good cholesterol is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Jose Luchsinger, an assistant professor in the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.

Researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center followed more than 11,000 New Yorkers age 65 and older for more than 10 years. The study found that people with higher levels of good cholesterol, or HDL, had half the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers said that good cholesterol might benefit the brain, because it takes bad cholesterol from the arteries. That decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

"You know maybe people with a high HDL have less strokes in their brain and are, therefore, less likely to manifest Alzheimer's disease," Luchsinger said.

Good cholesterol levels can be improved in a number of ways.

Eat more foods such as nuts and fish that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Get more exercise. Even mild to moderate alcohol consumption can all help.

Not smoking is another way to maintain healthy cholesterol. Smoking can actually lower your good cholesterol levels.

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