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January 15, 1982

The Biologic Parabola: A Look at Serum Cholesterol

JAMA. 1982;247(3):302. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320280024005

To the Editor.—  We have always held to the "commonsense" scientific philosophy that underweight is as undesirable as overweight, too tall is as unhealthy as too short, and, it would follow, hypocholesterolemia must be just as pathogenic as hypercholesterolemia.Accordingly, we have been fascinated with the small but increasing number of scientific reports dealing with a variety of disease states and low cholesterol levels. Ueshima et al1 have questioned the practice of maintaining the total serum cholesterol level as low as possible to prevent coronary heart disease and cerebral stroke. From a ten-year study, they reported a significant negative correlation between total serum cholesterol (from 150 to 200 mg/dL) and both cerebral hemorrhage (r=—.83) and cerebral infarction (r=—.84). According to these authors, "the mortality rate for stroke increases in groups with a total cholesterol level lower than 160 mg%." They note further that "our results suggest that the