According to new research at Emory University School of Medicine, bad cholesterol or LDL could lead to early onset of brain disease Alzheimer’s. This form of disease which is quite rare occurs before Alzheimer’s usual age of 65 years and in previous researches has been linked to gene mutation. This occurs due to the way body processes fats and cholesterol and the mutation occurs in very small percent of people say the researchers. Lead researcher Dr. Thomas Wingo of this study stated that bad cholesterol levels play only a casual part in Alzheimer’s disease.
The team wanted to understand if there is more than a causal link between blood cholesterol levels and Alzheimer’s risk but the data on that is still unclear as early onsets of the disease could not be explained through known types of gene mutations. The most recognizable form of gene mutation called APOE E4 increases level of bad cholesterol in the body which can clog arteries of the heart thereby increasing risk of stroke and heart attacks. Other known gene mutations that increase the risk of early Alzheimer’s are APP, PSEN1 and PSEN2 which are however responsible for only 10% of all cases.
As the theory leaves nearly 90% of all early Alzheimer’s cases unexplained the researchers tried to tackle it from that angle. They sequenced genes of around 2100 in specific area only of which around 650 had suffered from early onset of the disease. They also checked the cholesterol levels of 260 participants and found that APOE E4 mutation which caused around 10% of early Alzheimer’s, had been present also in patients who had late onset of the disease. The team also discovered that people with high LDL cholesterol had a greater risk of contracting early Alzheimer’s when compared to people with low LDL levels. They also did not find any links between HDL or good cholesterol and Alzheimer’s.