NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 14 – Maintaining healthy levels of total and LDL cholesterol may inhibit cognitive decline in elderly women, California investigators report in the Archives of Neurology for March. Statins may even find a niche in such prevention strategies, though no recommendation for their use can be made in the absence of clinical trials, they add.
Included in the study conducted by Dr. Kristine Yaffe, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues were 1037 postmenopausal women below age 80 at baseline with coronary heart disease. None had a history of dementia.
At 4-year follow-up, 79 women met the criteria for cognitive impairment. Women in the highest quartile for LDL cholesterol and for total cholesterol performed significantly worse on the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MS). Women whose LDL levels had not risen during the previous 4 years had better cognitive scores than those whose levels increased (p = 0.007).
"Reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels during 4 years were associated with better cognitive functioning and approximately 50% less risk of having cognitive impairment," the authors note. Results were unchanged when women who had experienced a stroke were deleted from the analyses.