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Good Cholesterol May Protect Against Memory Loss

Middle aged and forgetful? Low levels of good cholesterol may be to blame according to a recent study conducted by a team of French and British researchers.

Scientists from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of the University College in London and the Centre de Gerontologie Hospital Ste Parine in France studied 3,673 men that enrolled in the Whitehall II study in England.

The researchers measured total cholesterol, HDL ("good") cholesterol, triglycerides, and memory, at mean age 55 and again at mean age 61.

The scientists found that at age 55, those with low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol had a 27% higher risk of memory loss when compared to those with high HDL levels. The risk was even greater at age 60 where participants with low HDL levels had a 53% higher risk than those with high levels.

Results of the study were published online ahead of print on June 30, 2008 in the American Heart Association's journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Interestingly, the researchers found no correlation between total cholesterol and triglyceride levels and memory.

What can you do? You can avoid foods containing trans fats such as butter, some margarines and baked goods. Instead, you should seek to consume omega-3 essential fatty-acids such as those found in nuts and fish oil.

Source: Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology; Published online before print June 30, 2008; " Low HDL Cholesterol Is a Risk Factor for Deficit and Decline in Memory in Midlife. The Whitehall II Study"; Archana Singh-Manoux *; David Gimeno ; Mika Kivimaki ; Eric Brunner ; and Michael G. Marmot.
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