Research at the University of California, Davis, Alzheimer’s Disease Center has established an association between high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), low levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and Alzheimer's disease. Per the article:
High levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and low levels of the “bad” LDL kind are not just helpful for your heart, they’re better for your brain as well, a new study finds. In fact, the wrong levels of the two types of cholesterol are associated with more of the protein deposits in the brain associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease...It’s published Monday in the journal JAMA Neurology.
Since I have a huge family incidence of Alzheimer's, but excellent HDL and LDL levels, this is very good news for me...
Good news! Within a few years an effective drug to lower bad cholesterol may be available.
... the Johns Hopkins team says it identified and halted the action of a single molecular culprit responsible for a range of biological glitches that affect the body's ability to properly use, transport and purge itself of cholesterol ...
The offender, the researchers say, is a fat-and-sugar molecule called glycosphingolipid, or GSL, which resides in the membranes of all cells, and is mostly known for regulating cell growth. Results of the experiments, the scientists say, reveal that this very same molecule also regulates the way the body handles cholesterol.
The Johns Hopkins team used an existing human-made compound called D-PDMP to block the synthesis of the GSL molecule, and by doing so, prevented the development of heart disease in mice and rabbits fed a high-fat, cholesterol-laden diet. The findings reveal that D-PDMP appears to work by interfering with a constellation of genetic pathways that regulate fat metabolism on multiple fronts -- from the way cells derive and absorb cholesterol from food, to the way cholesterol is transported to tissues and organs and is then broken down by the liver and excreted from the body.
Specifically, the experiments showed that treatment with D-PDMP led to:
• a drop in the animals' levels of so-called bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein, LDL;
• a drop in oxidized LDL, a particularly virulent form of fat that forms when LDL encounters free radicals. Oxidized LDL easily sticks to the walls of blood vessels, where it ignites inflammation, damaging the vessel walls and promoting the growth of fatty plaque;
• a surge in good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein, HDL, known to counteract the effects of LDL by mopping it up; and
• a significant drop in triglycerides, another type of plaque-building fat.
Treatment with a D-PDMP also boosted the activity of an enzyme responsible for purging the body of fats by converting these fats into bile, the fat-dissolving substance secreted by the liver.
... animals in the current study had no side effects even when given D-PDMP doses 10 times higher than the minimum effective dose, the study found. The research team is currently designing a compound drug with D-PDMP, which they soon plan to test in other animals and, eventually, in humans.