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Medical News & Perspectives
January 4, 2012

Researchers Still Seek Clinical Benefit in Raising Levels of Good Cholesterol

JAMA. 2012;307(1):21-22. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1871

Orlando, Fla— The use of statin therapy to lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), the “bad cholesterol,” is one of the pillars of cardiovascular disease prevention. But even individuals who have low LDL-C levels can die from cardiovascular disease, leaving researchers to question whether other changes to a patient's lipid profile might reduce that risk.

A hypothesis that is embraced by many in the medical community involves high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), the “good cholesterol.” Epidemiologic studies have found an inverse association between HDL-C levels and the rates of coronary heart disease events, so researchers theorize that raising HDL-C levels might reduce adverse coronary outcomes. However, proof of the theory remains outside researchers' grasp, as shown in studies presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions, held here in November.