High normal plasma triglycerides are associated with preserved cognitive function in Chinese oldest-old

Age Ageing. 2012 Sep;41(5):600-6. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afs033. Epub 2012 Mar 23.


Objective: to explore the relationship between blood lipids/lipoproteins and cognitive function in the Chinese oldest-old.

Design: multivariate statistical analysis using cross-sectional data.

Setting: community-based setting in longevity areas in China.

Subjects: eight hundred and thirty-six subjects aged 80 and older were included in the sample.

Methods: plasma total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting plasma glucose were measured and information about demographics and lifestyle was collected. Cognitive status was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).

Results: cumulative logit model analysis showed that triglyceride was significantly negatively associated with cognitive impairment. By general linear modelling, there was a significant linear trend of MMSE scores with the level of triglyceride, but not with levels of cholesterol after adjustment. The odds ratio (OR) of cognitive impairment (MMSE score < 18) was significantly reduced for the highest quartile of plasma triglyceride concentration (OR: 0.52, 95% CI: 0.33-0.84), but not for the second or third quartile, compared with the lowest quartile (adjusted models). There were no significant associations between cognitive impairment and cholesterol.

Conclusion: we concluded that high normal plasma triglyceride was associated with preservation of cognitive function while lower concentrations were not in the Chinese oldest-old.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / blood
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / ethnology*
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / physiopathology*
  • Linear Models
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol