A new study, conducted by the University of Copenhagen and the Copenhagen University Hospital, has found a further link between cholesterol and the immune system. While high cholesterol is known for increasing the risk of heart disease, this new study has found that both low and high cholesterol can also increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as pneumonia. This research shows that cholesterol may have more of a role in all types of disease, not just cardiovascular health as previously thought.
The study measured the level of HDL cholesterol, which is often known as good cholesterol. The scientists found that patients with high and low levels of concentration of HDL cholesterol seemed to have a higher risk of hospitalisation from an infectious disease. Furthermore, these patients also had a higher risk of dying from an infectious disease.
A study has shown that middle-aged women who have a higher level of fitness are less likely to develop dementia in later life. 191 women aged between 38 and 60 years old took part in the 44-year-long study which assessed their fitness and their chances of being diagnosed with dementia.
The study by the University of Gothenburg found that fitter middle-aged women were 88% less likely to develop dementia and if they did develop the disease, the diagnosis was, on average, ten years later.
This long-term study has provided further evidence that staying fit and active is linked to better mental health as you get older. However, this study does not suggest that having a high level of fitness will protect against dementia, but it does show a link between physical fitness and mental health.
The cost of providing healthcare for Irish people abroad has been steadily rising over the years, and now EU member states have decided to send Ireland the €34m bill. They are demanding that the Irish Republic covers the costs of providing care to its people in other member states. Among those claiming money back is Spain, which has asked for €11 million – the largest single demand.
Under EU regulations governing the provision of healthcare, this money should be paid to any member state from those who are insured in another. Under EU regulations, a person insured by the healthcare system of one member state can receive the same services in another member state, but it must be at the cost of the country where the person in insured.