People with low cholesterol face an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease - despite the benefits to their cardiovascular health, according to new research.
To test whether lower LDL cholesterol levels are associated with Parkinson's Disease, researchers in the US compared 124 patients with Parkinson's with 112 healthy controls.
Participant with lower LDL levels (less than 114 mg per decilitre) were 3.5 times more likely to have Parkinson's than those with higher LDL levels (greater than 138 mg/dL).
Nevertheless, lead author Dr Xuemei Huang of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine said that patients with high cholesterol should continue to receive statin medication as the risks of heart disease are greater.
'Parkinson's is a disease full of paradoxes,' she said. 'We've known for years that smoking reduces the risk of developing Parkinson's, but we don't advise people to smoke because of other more serious health risks.'
Also, patients with Parkinson's were less likely to take cholesterol-lowering drugs, suggesting that these might actually protect against the disease.
Movement Disorders Online publication. Doi:10.1002/mds.21290