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Oftentimes overlooked, low cholesterol levels have their own risks. For example, these levels are connected with poorer performance on cognitive measures, according to a study reported in Psychosomatic Medicine, January/February 2005. The study involved data from 789 men and 1105 women participating in the original cohort of the Framingham Heart Study. The purpose was to examine the relationship between total cholesterol and cognitive performance.
The study's findings indicated that the participants in the lowest cholesterol group (<200 units) did worse on tests of similarities, word fluency, and attention/concentration, compared with the patients in the higher cholesterol group. The researchers found that patients in the lowest cholesterol group were 49% more prone than were the participants in the highest cholesterol group (240-380) to perform poorly, and 80% more likely to perform very poorly.