Supports Chapter 26: Diet and the brain
High cholesterol is better for memory and cognitive function in the elderly
A study assessed cognitive function and cholesterol levels in 185 participants between the ages of 85 and 101. These participants were recruited from the New York City area.
Bloods were drawn to assess total, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, as well as for APOE genotyping.
In contrast to the researchers' expectations, they found that "high total cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol were associated with higher memory scores for noncarriers of the APOE4 allele. No significant associations between cognitive performance and lipid profile were found for carriers of the APOE4 allele."
High cholesterol in individuals above the age of 79 has actually been found to be associated with reduced risk of dementia.
High total cholesterol has also been correlated with a lower risk of mortality in the elderly. It may be conjectured that high levels of cholesterol suggests better health than that of individuals with lower levels of cholesterol.
They concluded that "high cholesterol is associated with better memory function."
West R, Schnaider Beeri M, Schmeidler J, et al. Better Memory Functioning Associated With Higher Total and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels in Very Elderly Subjects Without the Apolipoprotein e4 Allele. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2008;16:781–785