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August 16, 1995

Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease in Older AdultsNo Easy Answers

Author Affiliations

From the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas (Dr Denke), and JAMA, where Dr Winker is a Senior Editor.

JAMA. 1995;274(7):575-577. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530070073033

More than a decade ago, randomized placebo-controlled trials proved that reducing elevated cholesterol levels in middle-aged men reduced their risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).1,2 Whether a similar relationship exists between elevated cholesterol and increased risk of CHD events (defined as hospitalization or death due to CHD) in elderly individuals has remained unclear.3,4 Data from a cohort of subjects reported by Krumholz and colleagues5 and an accompanying Editorial6 published in JAMA last year concluded that by at least the age of 80 years, elevated cholesterol no longer confers an increased risk for CHD events.

See also p 539.

In this issue of The Journal, Corti and colleagues7 report an association between elevated cholesterol levels and CHD mortality in elderly women but not in elderly men. To JAMA readers, the methods and results of the study by Corti et al will appear similar to those of Krumholz et

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