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A recent study found that Parkinson’s disease patients typically have low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. What researchers could not establish was if the low LDL levels were the result of Parkinson’s or a possible precursor to the disease.

Dr. Xuemei Huang, medical director of Movement Disorder Clinic, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, believes he has found a way to establish the association of low LDL levels with Parkinson’s. A group of 3,233 men of Japanese ancestry had participated in the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study between 1991 – 1993. During the study fasting lipids were measured and at that time statin therapy to lower LDL levels was not widely used. The men in the study were followed for about 10 years and the correlation between decreasing levels of LDL cholesterol and increased incidents of Parkinson’s disease emerged.

After adjusting for age, smoking, coffee intake, and other factors, the researchers calculated that the relative odds of Parkinson’s for men with lower LDL levels (85 mg per deciliter) was about twice that of those with higher LDL levels ((135 mg per deciliter).

Low levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with good cardio vascular health and people taking statins to lower their LDL are advised not to stop taking the medication simply to avoid Parkinson’s.