Total cholesterol and neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer's disease: The impact of total cholesterol level and gender

James R. Hall, April R. Wiechmann, Leigh A. Johnson, Melissa Edwards, Robert C. Barber, Rebecca Cunningham, Meharvan Singh, Sid E. O'Bryant, Rachelle Doody, Susan Roundtree, Valory Pavlik, Wen Chan, Paul Massman, Eveleen Darby, Tracey Evans, Benjamin Williams, Gregory Schrimsher, Andrew Dentino, Ronnie Orozco, Thomas FairchildJanice Knebl, Douglas Mains, Lisa Alvarez, Perrie Adams, Roger Rosenberg, Myron Weiner, Mary Quiceno, Joan Reisch, Ryan Huebinger, Guanghua Xiao, Doris Svetlik, Amy Werry, Janet Smith, Donald Royall, Raymond Palmer, Marsha Polk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are a major factor in nursing home placement and a primary cause of stress for caregivers. Elevated cholesterol has been linked to psychiatric disorders and has been shown to be a risk factor for AD and to impact disease progression. The present study investigated the relationship between cholesterol and NPS in AD.

Methods: Data on cholesterol and NPS from 220 individuals (144 females, 76 males) with mild-to-moderate AD from the Texas Alzheimer's Research and Care Consortium (TARCC) cohort were analyzed. The total number of NPS and symptoms of hyperactivity, psychosis, affect and apathy were evaluated. Groups based on total cholesterol (TC; ≥ 200 vs. <200 mg/dl) were compared with regard to NPS. The impact of gender was also assessed.

Results: Individuals with high TC had lower MMSE scores as well as significantly more NPS and more symptoms of psychosis. When stratified by gender, males with high TC had significantly more NPS than females with high TC or than males or females with low TC.

Conclusion: The role of elevated cholesterol in the occurrence of NPS in AD appears to be gender and symptom specific. A cross-validation of these findings will have implications for possible treatment interventions, especially for males with high TC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-309
Number of pages10
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
StatePublished - Nov 7 2014


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cholesterol
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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