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Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Nov 15;164(10):998-1002. Epub 2006 Aug 11.

Serum cholesterol levels and the risk of Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.


Several recent findings suggest a role of lipid and cholesterol metabolism in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. Therefore, the authors examined the association between serum levels of cholesterol and the risk of Parkinson's disease in the prospective, population-based Rotterdam Study among 6,465 subjects aged 55 or more years with repeated in-person examination and on average 9.4 years of follow-up (1990-2004). Higher serum levels of total cholesterol were associated with a significantly decreased risk of Parkinson's disease (age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratio per mmol/liter increase in cholesterol = 0.77, 95% confidence interval: 0.64, 0.94), with evidence for a dose-effect relation. The association was restricted to women and remained unchanged after adjustment for multiple potential confounders. These findings may indicate a role of lipids in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. Alternatively, they could reflect the strong correlation-especially in women-between levels of serum cholesterol and the antioxidant coenzyme Q10. If confirmed, this would provide further support for an important role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease.

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