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Alzheimer’s disease related to cholesterol and blood sugar from the age of 35

A new study suggests that cholesterol and blood sugar levels at age 35 help predict Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have recently examined the link between cardiovascular measures and Alzheimer’s disease. They found that low high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood sugar were associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s after the age of 35. The authors conclude that early intervention aimed at maintaining healthy levels of HDL, triglycerides and glucose may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies show that if exposure to vascular risk from age 55 predicts Alzheimer’s disease, it is not known whether or not this association exists in younger people. Knowing how early this association is could help researchers better understand AD as a life-course disease. Recently, researchers at Boston University examined the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and vascular measurements using longitudinal data. They found that low HDL-cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood sugar from age 35 were associated with AD later in life.

The study was published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and other health problems. But now it also appears to be a risk factor for dementia.
The best evidence that the brain stays healthy as you age is a balanced diet, not smoking, drinking within recommendations, regular exercise, and keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

data analysis

For the study, researchers included data from 4,932 people who were part of the Framingham Heart Study. Participants had an average age of 37 years at enrollment and underwent nine screenings every 4 years until age 70.

In each study, the researchers measured the following parameters in the participants:

– HDL cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “good” cholesterol)
– the level of glucose in the blood
– Body Mass Index (BMI)
– systolic and diastolic blood pressure
– the number of cigarettes smoked per day

Beginning with the second exam, participants also underwent cognitive assessments to track the progression of cognitive decline. After analyzing the data, the researchers found an inverse relationship between AD and HDL measured during the first, second, sixth, and seventh visits. The study also links AD to higher triglyceride levels at the first, second, fifth, sixth, and seventh visits, regardless of medication.

At the same time, hyperglycemia is significantly associated with the development of AD on any examination. The researchers found no association between AD and LDL, BMI, smoking, or blood pressure on any test.

Underlying Mechanisms

The brain is full of cholesterol and needs cholesterol to grow and produce nerve cells. The balance and transport of cholesterol in the brain are carefully controlled, and lipids are very important for brain function. The most important of the lipid-related proteins in the brain is ApoE, a protein that transports lipids within the brain and elsewhere. Some HDL particles contain apoE (apoE-rich HDL), and this type of apoE-rich HDL is most concentrated in the brain. The quality and quantity of apoE-rich HDL may partially explain the association between Alzheimer’s disease and HDL.

HDL could increase transport and thus reduce the accumulation of amyloid beta plaques, which are protein aggregates characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.

When asked about the link between AD and glucose levels, the lead researcher said higher blood sugar levels were associated with higher brain glucose concentrations and heavier plaques in AD brains. “We know that the brain relies on glucose for energy, but excess glucose in the brain can undergo chemical reactions that make it harmful and cause inflammation. When glucose levels are elevated for a long time, chronic neuroinflammation can result. »

Another problem with high blood sugar is that it stimulates the release of insulin to lower glucose, which can cause wild swings in sugar levels in the brain, which is very bad for nerve cells. The researchers conclude that early intervention aimed at maintaining healthy levels of HDL, triglycerides and glucose may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Conclusions of the study on protection against Alzheimer’s

Eating less sugar and processed foods and exercising regularly is good for all organs, especially the brain and heart. Checking blood sugar and lipid profiles and monitoring HDL are excellent preventive measures. At the moment we don’t have any drugs that can increase HDL without causing many side effects and if the HDL is not of good quality then increasing it is useless. Right now, the best way to support HDL levels is through exercise and physical activity.


Midlife lipid and glucose levels are associated with Alzheimer’s disease

Associations between increased risk of coronary artery disease in midlife (but not late in life) and lower cognitive performance: results from the Framingham Offspring Study

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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