Cholesterol: The Smart Factor

Published Online: Sunday, May 1, 2005

Individuals with high cholesterol receive higher marks on tests measuring mental ability. Researchers based this finding on the medical histories of 789 men and 1105 women over 18 years. The information came from the Framingham Heart Study. During the study, the participants were administered tests to evaluate mental skills such as memory, concentration, abstract reasoning, and organization. Almost none of the participants were taking cholesterol medications, and the researchers do not know whether individuals who take medication to lower their levels would have poorer skills.

The investigators found that individuals with total cholesterol levels that were borderline-high or >200 scored better. They voiced concern, however, that individuals might ignore high cholesterol or stop taking their medication because of the results. (The findings were reported recently in Psychosomatic Medicine.)

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