HDL Cholesterol Level Linked to Longevity, Cognitive Function. (Study of Centenarians)

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- HDL cholesterol may have a role in regulating the rate of aging, particularly affording protection against cognitive decline, Dr. Nir Barzilai said at the annual conference of the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease.

A group of centenarians maintained significantly higher than normal HDL cholesterol levels, and within the group the parameter was strongly correlated with cognitive function, said Dr. Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

He reported findings from a study of 139 healthy centenarians (people aged 95 or above; mean age 99) and their offspring. The spouses of offspring made up a comparison group.

An aggregation of longevity was found across generations: The grandparents of the offspring, or the centenarians' parents, were seven times more likely to have lived into their 90s than the grandparents of the spouses of the offspring.

The centenarians' offspring were also significantly healthier than their spouses: They were half as likely to have diabetes or heart attacks and had significantly lower blood pressure. …