Australian scientists have proven that dementia is interconnected with cholesterol

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 Australian scientists have proven that dementia is interconnected with cholesterol

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Scientists at the Heart Research Institute say they've made a big breakthrough by finding for the first time a clear link between dementia and high cholesterol. Researchers say results from 17 global studies of over a million patients under 65 mean that future tests to calculate dementia risk may be performed using blood tests.

Dr. Ashish Mishra of the Institute believes the results are a “game changer” because this is the first definitive link between cholesterol levels and dementia.

“For the first time, we could categorically say that there is a direct link between what we eat and our cognitive decline”, – explained Dr. Mishra. “Bad” cholesterol aggregates tau proteins between neurons, which cross the blood-brain barrier and can lead to dementia”.

Cholesterol is used by the body to make hormones and aid digestion, but too much cholesterol from a diet high in sugar and fat will lead to an imbalance in blood lipid levels, causing complications. High cholesterol levels can lead to plaque buildup on the walls of arteries, increasing the risk of stroke.

“Unfortunately, there is no magic cure to get rid of plaque in the arteries. We need to learn to live with it and help it dissolve over time through improved nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, – says the doctor.

He believes the discovery will lead to more accurate detection of early signs of dementia, which will give people the opportunity to act on their risk factors, including diet and exercise.

Evidence suggests that the onset of dementia often appears 10 to 20 years before the onset of clinical symptoms and that 40% of the risk of dementia can be attributed to modifiable risk factors. Dr. Mishra said doctors can perform simple and cost-effective tests on people as young as 50, so at-risk patients can work to improve their diet to cope with cognitive decline.

living in Australia with dementia is about 487 500 people. For the population over 65, this corresponds to 84 patients per 1000 people. There are predictions that the number of Australians living with dementia will more than double by 2058.

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