Cognitive performance involves the activities of understanding, thinking, learning, and remembering. Every action we make is dependent on our brain-based skills without realizing it. “Bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) has been found to have a negative role in cognitive performance in older adults according to a study.
The research at Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, Netherlands involved 4,428 older people aged 70 to 82 from Scotland, Ireland, and the Netherlands. All of them either had vascular disease or were at increased risk of developing vascular disease due to other risk factors such as hypertension. What the research was looking for is if LDL cholesterol created a measurable effect on the brain.
First, the researchers evaluated the variability of LDL cholesterol in each of the individuals before putting them through a number of cognitive tests. The tests measured attention, assessment of information processing speed and memory.
Variation in cholesterol slows down thinking.
Research results indicated that those with the highest cholesterol variance required 2.7 seconds more to complete the colored word test.
“While this might seem like a small effect, it is significant at a population level. Our findings suggest, for the first time, that it’s not just the average level of your LDL cholesterol that is related to brain health, but also how much your levels vary from one measurement to another. Our study is just the first exciting step,” said Roelof Smit, M.D., lead study author at Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, the Netherlands.
It is well known that the two leading causes of death in the world are heart disease and stroke, both of which are linked to high cholesterol according to WHO.
September is National Cholesterol Education Month, so let’s learn more about it and what it really does in our body.
Cholesterol is not all bad; in fact, it is essential in assisting a normal functioning of the human body. Our cell membranes are made up of around 30 percent cholesterol which helps in building, maintaining and keeping membranes functional.
Cholesterol needs the help of lipoproteins to help it dissolve in the blood; the lipoproteins then carry the cholesterol it to where it is needed in the body. Lipoproteins come in two forms: low-density (LDL) and high-density (HDL). The HDL cholesterol is called the “good cholesterol” as it helps move the LDL cholesterol toward the liver where it is broken down and then flows on. We call LDL cholesterol “bad cholesterol” because when there is too much of it, a thick, hard plaque creates clogged arteries and stiffening, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.