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  • 7/24/2010

Cholesterol, depression linked to gender


While cholesterol increases the risk of depression in the elderly, it may affect men and women differently, a new research indicates.

Previous research has suggested that dysfunctional blood flow to the brain both influences the development of some forms of dementia and the risk of depression.

However, Dr. Marie-Laure Ancelin and her colleagues from the University of Montpellier Hospital report the effects of the two major cholesterol subtypes on the risk of depression vary between genders.

In a study of 1,040 female and 752 male subjects aged 65 and older, Ancelin and her team trailed their cholesterol levels while screening symptoms of depression over seven years.

The team assessed the level of both High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) known as the “good” cholesterol, and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) known as the “bad” cholesterol, while assessing depression through diagnosis using “The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview,” or by a score of 16 or higher on the Centre for Epidemiology Studies Depression scale, said a report.

The researchers, taking into consideration various factors such as genetics, physical health, socioeconomic status, and smoking found that gender still played a role between the type of lipid, depression, and high cholesterol.

For male subjects with low levels of LDL, the risk of depression was twice as high while in females with low levels of HDL the risk was 1.5 times higher.

In men, and not in women, there may be a genetic link between LDL and serotonin metabolism, the study said.

The different risks associated with HDL and LDL and their relation with depression can create a dilemma for physicians, particularly when they are treating men with high cholesterol.

This is because men with declining LDL levels have a lower risk of experiencing cardiovascular problems but they may instead suffer from mental health problems.

Such treatment will necessitate careful attention and consideration between patients and their doctors about individual risk-benefit ratios.

“Our results suggest that clinical management of abnormal lipid levels may reduce depression in the elderly, but different treatment will be required according to sex. LDL-C serum level seems to be an important biological marker in men, with a narrow range for normal functioning," Ancelin says.

"Above this range, cardio- or cerebro-vascular risk increases and below it, there is increased risk of depression,” she added in the July edition of the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Source: presstv.ir

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