Better memory functioning associated with higher total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in very elderly subjects without the apolipoprotein e4 allele

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2008 Sep;16(9):781-5. doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181812790.


Objective: To examine the association of cholesterol with cognitive functioning in oldest old community dwelling individuals with and without the apolipoprotein e4 (APOE4) allele.

Method: One hundred eighty-five nondemented, community dwelling individuals (>or=85) were assessed with a broad neuropsychological battery. Bloods were drawn to assess total, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as for APOE genotyping.

Results: In contrast to our expectations, high total cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol were associated with higher memory scores for noncarriers of the APOE4 allele. No significant associations between cognitive performance and lipid profile were found for carriers of the APOE4 allele.

Conclusions: In oldest old nondemented noncarriers of the APOE4 allele, high cholesterol is associated with better memory function. Further examination of the role of APOE genotype on the association between cholesterol and cognitive performance, especially in the oldest old is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Dementia / blood*
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL