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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - High cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease, according to findings from a Finnish study.
While it's well established that high cholesterol increases heart disease risk, "the association between serum cholesterol level and neurodegenerative diseases risk has been debated," write Dr. Gang Hu, of the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues.
The researchers examined this relationship in a cohort of 24,773 Finnish men and 26,153 women between the ages of 25 and 74 years. A total of 321 men and 304 women developed Parkinson's disease during an average follow-up of 18 years, the researchers report in the medical journal Neurology.
Compared to people with the lowest cholesterol, those with the highest had an 86 percent greater likelihood of developing Parkinson's disease.
This increased risk applied to people 24 to 54 years of age. "However, no association was found among subjects aged 55 years or older at baseline," Hu's team explains.
SOURCE: Neurology, May 20, 2008.