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Low LDL Levels Lead to Parkinson's Disease

Researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggested that low LDL values can increase the incidence of Parkinson’s disease.//

LDL stands for low density lipoprotein; the low values of LDL are associated with good cardiovascular status. Previously associations have been made between LDL and cardiovascular diseases, smoking and Parkinson’s Disease.

"People with Parkinson's disease have a lower occurrence of heart attack and stroke than people who do not have the disease," said Dr. Xuemei Huang, medical director of the Movement Disorder Clinic at UNC Hospitals and an assistant professor of neurology in the UNC School of Medicine. "Parkinson's patients are also more likely to carry the gene APOE-2, which is linked with lower LDL cholesterol." And for more than a decade, researchers have known that smoking, which increases a person's risk for cardiovascular disease, is also associated with a decreased risk of Parkinson's disease.

These findings led Huang to examine whether higher LDL cholesterol might be associated with a decreased occurrence for Parkinson's disease, and vice versa. "If my hypothesis was correct," she said, "lower LDL-C, something that is linked to healthy hearts, would be associated with a higher occurrence of Parkinson's." The results of Huang's study, published online Dec. 18 by the journal Movement Disorders, confirmed her hypothesis. "We found that lower LDL concentrations were indeed associated with a higher occurrence of Parkinson's disease," Huang said. Participants with lower LDL levels (less than 114 milligrams per deciliter) had a 3.5-fold higher occurrence of Parkinson's than the participants with higher LDL levels (more than 138 milligrams per deciliter).

Huang cautioned that people should not change their eating habits, nor their use of statins and other cholesterol-lowering drugs, because of the results. The study was based on relatively small numbers of cases and controls, and the
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