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Cholesterol and Dementia: A Long and Complicated Relationship

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 1 ]


Oliwia McFarlane* and Kornelia Kędziora-Kornatowska   Pages 42 - 51 ( 10 )


Background: There is a huge demand for efficient strategies for maintaining cognitive wellbeing with age, especially in the context of population aging. Dementia constitutes the main reason for disability and dependency in the elderly. Identification of potential risk and protective factors, as well as determinants of conversion from MCI to dementia, is therefore crucial. In case of Alzheimer’s disease, the most prevalent dementia syndrome amongst the members of modern societies, neurodegenerative processes in the brain can begin many years before first clinical symptoms appear. First functional changes typically mean advanced neuron loss, therefore, the earliest possible diagnosis is critical for implementation of promising early pharmaceutical interventions.

Objective: The study aimed to discuss the relationships between both circulating and brain cholesterol with cognition, and explore its potential role in early diagnosis of cognitive disorders.

Methods: Literature review.

Results: The causal role of high cholesterol levels in AD or MCI has not been confirmed. It has been postulated that plasma levels of 24(S)-OHC can potentially be used as an early biochemical marker of altered cholesterol homeostasis in the CNS. Some studies brought conflicting results, finding normal or lowered levels of 24(S)-OHC in dementia patients compared to controls. In spite of decades of research on the relationship between cholesterol and dementia, so far, no single trusted indicator of an early cognitive deterioration has been identified.

Conclusion: The current state of knowledge makes the use of cholesterol markers of cognitive decline in clinical practice impossible


Alzheimer’s disease, biomarker, cholesterol, cognition, dementia, mild cognitive impairment, 24(S)- hydroxycholesterol.


Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Nicolaus Copernicus University Ludwik Rydygier Collegium Medicum, Bydgoszcz, Department of Geriatrics, Faculty of Public Health, Nicolaus Copernicus University Ludwik Rydygier Collegium Medicum, Bydgoszcz

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