Oh, that’s right, it still is. Unless you happen to be between the ages of 85 and 94. Because at that advanced age, you’ll actually be better off with high cholesterol, cognitively speaking.
That, at least, is what one study reported a few years back.
It must be a good one, because it’s based on something called the “Framingham cohort.” (I don't have a clue what that is, but doesn't it sound impressive?)
Here’s what its authors discovered:
“Investigators found that cognitively intact people between the ages of 85 and 94 whose total cholesterol had increased from midlife had a 32% reduced risk for marked cognitive decline during the next decade, compared with individuals aged 75 to 84, who had a 50% increased risk.”
No word yet on whether we should toss the statin drugs and start pounding the eggs and butter when we hit 83.5. (Remember how eggs and butter used to be bad for us, but now they’re not? Perhaps this phenomenon is why they’ve now been given the green light. )
Nor is there any word on what happens to cholesterol-infused brains at age 95.
What’s more, we can’t predict what the next group of researchers will learn. As this current group reported, “an earlier study of the original Framingham cohort found no significant association between cholesterol and [Alzheimer’s disease].”
The best advice: Stay tuned.
And keep an eye out for a study that weighs that relative value of people suffering from cognitive decline, vs. those who retain all their marbles into great old age. Perhaps an enterprising future generation of researchers will find that, marbles or not, we all will die and head for eternities of unimaginable joy or suffering. Perhaps they’ll also realize that our ultimate destinations would be a far more worthy subject to investigate. This book might give them a head start on answering this most critical question.