Blood cholesterol in late-life and cognitive decline: A longitudinal study of the Chinese elderly

Chaoran Ma, Zhaoxue Yin, Pengfei Zhu, Jiesi Luo, Xiaoming Shi, Xiang Gao

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Background: Previous studies regarding the lipid-cognition relation in older adults are limited and have generated mixed results. We thus examined whether higher blood cholesterol concentrations were associated with faster cognitive decline in a community-based longitudinal study of Chinese elderly. Methods: The study included 1,159 Chinese adults aged over 60 years (women: 48.7%, mean age: 79.4 years), who were free of dementia, Parkinson disease and stroke at the baseline. Blood concentrations of total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglycerides (TG), were assessed at the baseline. Global cognitive functions were assessed using the Chinese Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) at in 2009, 2012 and 2014. Association between blood cholesterol and repeated cognitive function was analyzed with linear mixed models, adjusting for sociodemographic information, behavior and lifestyle, depression symptoms, physical examination, hypertension, and laboratory indexes. Results: Higher baseline TC and LDL-C concentrations were significantly associated with greater cognitive decline. Adjusted mean difference in cognitive decline rate, comparing two extreme quartiles, was 0.28 points (MMSE score) per year (95% confident interval (CI): -0.54,-0.02; P-trend = 0.005) for TC and 0.42 points per year (95% CI: -0.69, -0.16; P-trend = 0.006) for LDL-C. In a subgroup analysis, the associations between all lipids and cognitive decline appeared to be more pronounced among individuals aged 100 years or older (n = 90), relative to others. Conclusions: Higher blood concentrations of TC and LDL-C in late-life were associated with faster global cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalMolecular Neurodegeneration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 7 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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