August 4, 2009 --Things that are bad for your heart during your middle years in life could be bad for your brain in later years. Researchers in Finland and California found that high cholesterol levels in midlife were associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia many years later. They found that cholesterol levels of 240 or higher in middle age were associated with a 66 percent higher incident of Alzheimer's decades later. With cholesterol readings between 200-and-239, the risk of Alzheimer's disease was 52 percent.
The study appears online in the journal Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders.
A separate study found that smokers were 70 percent more likely to develop dementia than non-smokers.