Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease – new research

Researchers have noted that cholesterol metabolism is implicated in the beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease and amyloid (plaque) production in the brain.

Unfortunately you cannot measure brain cholesterol but the oxidized cholesterol or oxysterol (24S-hydroxycholesterol (24-OHC)), the predominant metabolite of brain cholesterol and can be measured in the blood.

A new study appearing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease evaluated 24-OHC as a potential biomarker of Alzheimer’s Disease risk and discuss factors related to its levels in the brain and blood. What they suggest is that plasma 24-OHC may be higher in the early stages of cognitive impairment and lower in more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s Disease when compared to cognitively normal controls. The conclude that measures of 24-OHC in the blood may be an important potential marker for cholesterol metabolism in the brain and risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. (1)

The same researchers in a second study noted: “Higher levels of 24-OHC suggest increased cholesterol metabolism occurring in the brains of participants with cerebrovascular disease prior to the onset of cognitive impairment. Measurement of oxysterols may provide information about cholesterol metabolism and brain disease over the cognitive impairment process.” (2)

What is important to note is that it is difficult at this time to test what cholesterol is doing to your brain but medical science has clearly linked evelvayed cholesterol to Alzheimer’s disease: Read this article we recently posted:

High Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s Disease

1. Hughes TM, Rosano C, Evans RW, Kuller LH. Brain Cholesterol Metabolism, Oxysterols, and Dementia. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012 Oct 17.

2. Hughes TM, Kuller LH, Lopez OL, Becker JT, Evans RW, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Rosano C. Markers of cholesterol metabolism in the brain show stronger associations with cerebrovascular disease than Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;30(1):53-61.