Very Low LDL Cholesterol Associated with Hemorrhagic Stroke in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pamela M. Rist, ScDAssistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical SchoolBrigham and Women's Hospital, Division of Preventive MedicineBoston, MA 02215 

Dr. Rist

Pamela M. Rist, ScD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Division of Preventive Medicine
Boston, MA 02215 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although hypercholesterolemia is a risk factor for ischemic stroke, some prior studies have observed an inverse association between total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and risk of hemorrhagic stroke.  However, many studies were not able to study this association specifically among women.

Our main result was very low levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or low levels of triglycerides were associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke among women. Continue reading

Could Statins Protect Against ALS?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alastair J. Noyce MD, PhD  Preventive Neurology Unit,  Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine Queen Mary University of London,  Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences, University College London, Institute of Neurology,  London UK

Dr. Noyce

Alastair J. Noyce MD, PhD
Preventive Neurology Unit,
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine
Queen Mary University of London,
Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences,
University College London, Institute of Neurology,
London UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or motor neurone disease (MND) is a relentlessly progressive disorder that affects nerves which supply muscles. Over time the nerves die, leading to limb weakness, speech and swallowing problems, and ultimately breathing problems. Patients die on average 3-5 after diagnosis. There is no cure and the underlying disease processes are only understood in part.

In this study, we adopted a large-scale approach to exploring causal risk factors for ALS. Causality is important because it implies that if one could modify or induce a change in a risk factor, one would observe a change in the risk of ALS. Observational studies struggle to prove causality definitely. Associations in observational studies can arise because:

1) the risk factor truly changes risk of ALS; or

2) something about ALS changes one’s exposure to the risk factor; or

3) the presence of another factor, which may or may not be known, can induce an association between a risk factor and ALS. Unless scenario 1 represents the truth, then changing the risk factor will not have any effect on risk of ALS.

We used a proxy-based approach, known as Mendelian randomisation, to assess hundreds of possible risk factors for ALS for evidence of causality. What emerged from this was a very clear signal linking LDL cholesterol to risk of ALS. Continue reading

Less Risk of Cognitive Decline After Elective Hospitalizations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bryan D. James, PhD

Assistant Professor
Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Chicago, IL 60612 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: It has long been reported by patients, their family members, and physicians that many older adults experience long-term declines in their memory and thinking abilities after hospitalization. Studies have recently begun to confirm these reports by following older patients for years after hospitalization and repeatedly testing their cognitive abilities. A number of questions have yet to be answered, including which types of hospitalizations are most strongly related to cognitive decline.

In this study, we sought to answer whether going to the hospital for elective procedures was as risky to the cognitive health of older adults as urgent or emergency (that is, non-elective) hospitalizations.

Continue reading