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Concept: Cholesterol


It is well known that total cholesterol becomes less of a risk factor or not at all for all-cause and cardiovascular (CV) mortality with increasing age, but as little is known as to whether low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), one component of total cholesterol, is associated with mortality in the elderly, we decided to investigate this issue.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Low-density lipoprotein, Atheroma, Niacin


Background Evolocumab is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 (PCSK9) and lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by approximately 60%. Whether it prevents cardiovascular events is uncertain. Methods We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 27,564 patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and LDL cholesterol levels of 70 mg per deciliter (1.8 mmol per liter) or higher who were receiving statin therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to receive evolocumab (either 140 mg every 2 weeks or 420 mg monthly) or matching placebo as subcutaneous injections. The primary efficacy end point was the composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stroke, hospitalization for unstable angina, or coronary revascularization. The key secondary efficacy end point was the composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke. The median duration of follow-up was 2.2 years. Results At 48 weeks, the least-squares mean percentage reduction in LDL cholesterol levels with evolocumab, as compared with placebo, was 59%, from a median baseline value of 92 mg per deciliter (2.4 mmol per liter) to 30 mg per deciliter (0.78 mmol per liter) (P<0.001). Relative to placebo, evolocumab treatment significantly reduced the risk of the primary end point (1344 patients [9.8%] vs. 1563 patients [11.3%]; hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 0.92; P<0.001) and the key secondary end point (816 [5.9%] vs. 1013 [7.4%]; hazard ratio, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.88; P<0.001). The results were consistent across key subgroups, including the subgroup of patients in the lowest quartile for baseline LDL cholesterol levels (median, 74 mg per deciliter [1.9 mmol per liter]). There was no significant difference between the study groups with regard to adverse events (including new-onset diabetes and neurocognitive events), with the exception of injection-site reactions, which were more common with evolocumab (2.1% vs. 1.6%). Conclusions In our trial, inhibition of PCSK9 with evolocumab on a background of statin therapy lowered LDL cholesterol levels to a median of 30 mg per deciliter (0.78 mmol per liter) and reduced the risk of cardiovascular events. These findings show that patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease benefit from lowering of LDL cholesterol levels below current targets. (Funded by Amgen; FOURIER number, NCT01764633 .).

Concepts: Cholesterol, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Low-density lipoprotein, Statin, Atheroma, Apolipoprotein B


Life skills play a key role in promoting educational and occupational success in early life, but their relevance at older ages is uncertain. Here we measured five life skills-conscientiousness, emotional stability, determination, control, and optimism-in 8,119 men and women aged 52 and older (mean 66.7 y). We show that the number of skills is associated with wealth, income, subjective wellbeing, less depression, low social isolation and loneliness, more close relationships, better self-rated health, fewer chronic diseases and impaired activities of daily living, faster walking speed, and favorable objective biomarkers (concentration of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, vitamin D and C-reactive protein, and less central obesity). Life skills also predicted sustained psychological wellbeing, less loneliness, and a lower incidence of new chronic disease and physical impairment over a 4-y period. These analyses took account of age, sex, parental socioeconomic background, education, and cognitive function. No single life skill was responsible for the associations we observed, nor were they driven by factors such as socioeconomic status or health. Despite the vicissitudes of later life, life skills impact a range of outcomes, and the maintenance of these attributes may benefit the older population.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Psychology, Osteoporosis, Medicine, Nutrition, Asthma, Chronic, Cognition


Statins reduce LDL cholesterol and prevent vascular events, but their net effects in people at low risk of vascular events remain uncertain.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Low-density lipoprotein, Statin, Mevalonate pathway


Tendon pain occurs in individuals with extreme cholesterol levels (familial hypercholesterolaemia). It is unclear whether the association with tendon pain is strong with less extreme elevations of cholesterol.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Atherosclerosis, Lipid disorders, Hypercholesterolemia


BACKGROUND: Intermittent fasting (IF; severe restriction 1 d/week) facilitates weight loss and improves coronary heart disease (CHD) risk indicators. The degree to which weight loss can be enhanced if IF is combined with calorie restriction (CR) and liquid meals, remains unknown. OBJECTIVE: This study examined the effects of IF plus CR (with or without a liquid diet) on body weight, body composition, and CHD risk. METHODS: Obese women (n = 54) were randomized to either the IFCR-liquid (IFCR-L) or IFCR-food based (IFCR-F) diet. The trial had two phases: 1) 2-week weight maintenance period, and 2) 8-week weight loss period. RESULTS: Body weight decreased more (P = 0.04) in the IFCR-L group (3.9 +/- 1.4 kg) versus the IFCR-F group (2.5 +/- 0.6 kg). Fat mass decreased similarly (P < 0.0001) in the IFCR-L and IFCR-F groups (2.8 +/- 1.2 kg and 1.9 +/- 0.7 kg, respectively). Visceral fat was reduced (P < 0.001) by IFCR-L (0.7 +/- 0.5 kg) and IFCR-F (0.3 +/- 0.5 kg) diets. Reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels were greater (P = 0.04) in the IFCR-L (19 +/- 10%; 20 +/- 9%, respectively) versus the IFCR-F group (8 +/- 3%; 7 +/- 4%, respectively). LDL peak particle size increased (P < 0.01), while heart rate, glucose, insulin, and homocysteine decreased (P < 0.05), in the IFCR-L group only. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that IF combined with CR and liquid meals is an effective strategy to help obese women lose weight and lower CHD risk.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Nutrition, Obesity, Mass, Adipose tissue, Weight loss, Dieting, Diets


Abstract Objective. This study aimed to investigate the association of lipoprotein and triglyceride levels with all-cause mortality in a population free from diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) at baseline. The European Guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention state that in general total cholesterol (TC) should be < 5 mmol/L (190 mg/dL) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) should be < 3 mmol/L (115 mg/dL). Design. A population-based register study in the period 1999-2007 including 118 160 subjects aged 50 + without statin use at baseline. All-cause mortality was related to lipoprotein and triglyceride levels and adjusted for statin use after inclusion. Results. All-cause mortality was lower in the groups with TC or LDL-C above the recommended levels. Compared with subjects with TC < 5 mmol/L, adjusted hazard ratios for the group aged 60-70 years ranged from 0.68 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61-0.77) for TC 5-5.99 mmol/L to 0.67 (95% CI 0.59-0.75) for TC 6-7.99 mmol/L and 1.02 (95% CI 0.68-1.53) for TC ≥ 8 mmol/L in males and from 0.57 (95% CI 0.48-0.67) to 0.59 (95% CI 0.50-0.68) and 1.02 (95% CI: 0.77-1.37) in females. For triglycerides, ratios compared with the group < 1 mmol/L in the females aged 60-70 years ranged from 1.04 (95% CI 0.88-1.23) to 1.35 (95% CI 1.10-1.66) and 1.25 (95% CI 1.05-1.48) for triglycerides 1-1.39 mmol/L, 1.4-1.69 mmol/L, and ≥ 1.7 mmol/L, respectively. Statin treatment after inclusion provided a survival benefit. Conclusion. These associations indicate that high lipoprotein levels do not seem to be definitely harmful in the general population. However, high triglyceride levels in females are associated with decreased survival.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Low-density lipoprotein, Statin, Atheroma, Triglyceride


Hypercholesterolemia plays a critical role in atherosclerosis. CD34+ CD45dim Lineage- hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) give rise to the inflammatory cells linked to atherosclerosis. In mice, high cholesterol levels mobilize HSPCs into the bloodstream, and promote their differentiation to granulocytes and monocytes. The objective of our study was to determine how cholesterol levels affect HSPC quantity in humans.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Inflammation, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Familial hypercholesterolemia, Low-density lipoprotein, Atheroma, Hypercholesterolemia


BACKGROUND: Global demographic changes have stimulated marked interest in the process of ageing. There has been, and will continue to be, an unrelenting rise in the number of the oldest old ( >85 years of age). Together with an ageing population there comes an increase in the prevalence of age related disease. Of the diseases of ageing, cardiovascular disease (CVD) has by far the highest prevalence. It is regarded that a finely tuned lipid profile may help to prevent CVD as there is a long established relationship between alterations to lipid metabolism and CVD risk. In fact elevated plasma cholesterol, particularly Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL-C) has consistently stood out as a risk factor for having a cardiovascular event. Moreover it is widely acknowledged that LDL-C may rise with age in both sexes in a wide variety of groups. The aim of this work was to use a whole-body mathematical model to investigate why LDL-C rises with age, and to test the hypothesis that mechanistic changes to cholesterol absorption and LDL-C removal from the plasma are responsible for the rise. The whole-body mechanistic nature of the model differs from previous models of cholesterol metabolism which have either focused on intracellular cholesterol homeostasis or have concentrated on an isolated area of lipoprotein dynamics. The model integrates both current and previously published data relating to molecular biology, physiology, ageing and nutrition in an integrated fashion. RESULTS: The model was used to test the hypothesis that alterations to the rate of cholesterol absorption and changes to the rate of removal of LDL-C from the plasma are integral to understanding why LDL-C rises with age. The model demonstrates that increasing the rate of intestinal cholesterol absorption from 50% to 80% by age 65 years can result in an increase of LDL-C by as much as 34mg/dL in a hypothetical male subject. The model also shows that decreasing the rate of hepatic clearance of LDL-C gradually to 50% by age 65 years can result in an increase of LDL-C by as much as 116mg/dL. CONCLUSIONS: Our model clearly demonstrates that of the two putative mechanisms that have been implicated in the dysregulation of cholesterol metabolism with age, alterations to the removal rate of plasma LDL-C has the most significant impact on cholesterol metabolism and small changes to the number of hepatic LDL receptors can result in a significant rise in LDL-C. This first whole-body systems based model of cholesterol balance could potentially be used as a tool to further improve our understanding of whole-body cholesterol metabolism and its dysregulation with age. Furthermore, given further fine tuning the model may help to investigate potential dietary and lifestyle regimes that have the potential to mitigate the effects aging has on cholesterol metabolism.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Nutrition, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Low-density lipoprotein, Atheroma, Niacin, High-density lipoprotein


Xanthohumol is expected to be a potent anti-atherosclerotic agent due to its inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP). In this study, we hypothesized that xanthohumol prevents atherosclerosis in vivo and used CETP-transgenic mice (CETP-Tg mice) to evaluate xanthohumol as a functional agent.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Atherosclerosis, Atheroma, High-density lipoprotein, Cholesterylester transfer protein, Cholesteryl ester, Artery, Apolipoprotein E