Even slightly elevated cholesterol levels in midlife increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia later in life, according to a study at Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in California and the University of Kuopio in Finland. Researchers followed 9,844 people for four decades. By the end of the study, nearly 600 people had developed either Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia, a group of dementia syndromes caused by conditions affecting the blood supply to the brain. Total cholesterol in the high range (240 mg/dL or higher) at the start of the study was associated with a 57 percent increase in Alzheimer’s risk; borderline high cholesterol (between 200 and 239 mg/dL) raised the risk by 23 percent. Prevent heart disease now by controlling cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and weight to protect your brain as you age.