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Study links genetic predisposition for high BP, cholesterol to Alzheimer’s

London, May 19 (IANS) People with genetic tendency toward higher levels of hypertension and cholesterol could be at a potential risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, included 39,106 people with clinically diagnosed Alzheimer’s and 401,577 controls who did not have the disease.

The team from Copenhagen University in Denmark found that people who had certain genes that led to higher levels of a type of cholesterol called high-density lipoprotein, also known as HDL or “good” cholesterol, had a slightly higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s.

For every standard deviation increase in HDL cholesterol, the researchers found about 10 per cent increase in the risk of Alzheimer’s.

A similar increased risk was found for people with the genes responsible for higher systolic blood pressure. For every 10 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) increase in systolic blood pressure, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s increased 1.22 times.

“This genetic association study found novel genetic associations between high HDL cholesterol concentrations and high systolic blood pressure with higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These findings may inspire new drug targeting and improved prevention implementation,” Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, from the varsity’s Department of Clinical Biochemistry.

The study, however, did not find any consistent evidence for genetic associations with other lipid traits, nor did it find evidence that BMI, alcohol consumption, smoking or diabetes increased the odds of developing Alzheimer’s.

As the participants were majorly of European descent, the study cannot be generalised. The study also did not show that genes predetermine people to Alzheimer’s, said the team, stressing the need for further research.