Background: To evaluate the association between plasma lipid fractions and the prevalence of dementia in a large sample of Italian older individuals.
Methods: A total of 1051 older community-dwelling individuals (age >/=65 years), enrolled in the InChianti study, were included. Diagnosis of dementia was established at baseline and at the 3-year follow-up using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (Fourth Edition) criteria. Plasma lipids were measured by standardized methods at baseline and after 3 years.
Results: At baseline, 61 individuals (5.8%) were affected by dementia. Demented individuals showed significantly lower total cholesterol (TC), nonhigh-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels compared with controls; no differences were found in triglycerides (TG) and lipoprotein (a) levels. Of the 819 subjects reevaluated at the 3-year follow-up, 81 (9.9%) received a new diagnosis of dementia. Again, demented subjects were characterized by significantly lower TC, non-HDL-C, and HDL-C levels compared with controls, thus confirming the baseline findings. At multivariate logistic regression analysis, HDL-C levels (odds ratio: 0.96, 95% confidence interval: 0.93-0.99), but not TG and non-HDL-C, were associated with dementia independent of important confounders including age, gender, apo E phenotype, stroke, weight loss, interleukin 6 levels, and ankle-brachial index.
Conclusions: Among community-dwelling older people, individuals affected by dementia showed significantly lower TC, non-HDL-C, and HDL-C levels; however, at multivariate analysis, only HDL-C was associated with dementia. Our results suggest the existence of an independent relationship between dementia and low HDL-C levels.