It adds to existing speculation that higher cholesterol levels in midlife, particularly of so-called "bad" cholesterol, boost the risk of Alzheimer's later, said Gordon, who's also an Alzheimer's researcher at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.
It's not clear how cholesterol may make plaques more common, Gordon said, although cholesterol is found in plaques. It's possible that high cholesterol could set off another process that causes Alzheimer's, he said, or that something else "predisposes you to be prone to Alzheimer's and raises your cholesterol level."
There's a twist: cholesterol levels and obesity appear to drop in people who have dementia, although that may have something to do with changes in their eating habits, Gordon noted.
The study is published in the Sept. 13 issue of the journal Neurology.
For more about Alzheimer's disease, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Kensuke Sasaki, M.D., assistant professor, neuropathology, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan; Marc L. Gordon, M.D., chief, neurology, Zucker Hillside Hospital, and Alzheimer's researcher, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, N.Y.; Sept. 13, 2011, Neurology
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