Potential Link Found between Lung Health and Levels of HDL. (Brief Reports: Nutrition, Health, and Genomics)

Article excerpt

Good cholesterol is not only healthy for the heart but also could be beneficial for the lungs, Cornell researchers find.

KEEPING GOOD CHOLESTEROL, or HDL, high--with plenty of exercise and a healthy body weight--is not only important for cardiovascular health but also could benefit lung health, according to a new study by Cornell nutritional epidemiologists.

The researchers found that a high level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) is linked to healthy lungs, though they stress that more research is needed to understand if this is a cause-effect relationship.

"Previous studies that have looked at cholesterol and pulmonary disease reported inconsistent findings, but they all looked at total cholesterol, which may confuse the issue," says Patricia Cassano, an epidemiologist and assistant professor in Cornell's Division of Nutritional Sciences. "Our study, unlike any others we know, examined the association of the high-density and low-density lipoproteins with lung function." The study is published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol.155, No. 9, 2002).

In an analysis of the 1988-94 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey of 18, 162 randomly selected adults in the United States, Cassano and co-authors Dominic J. Cirillo and Yuri Agrawal, both former research assistants at Cornell, explored how HDL and LDL are associated with lung function in healthy people. HDL and LDL, often referred to as "good" and "bad" cholesterol, have well-known and differing effects on heart disease. …