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To the Editor: Inquiry: Letter in response to ‘Julia’s Inn’ column

April 9, 2014

Editor’s note: The following letter, dated Jan. 26, 2014, was addressed to Julia Whipkey-Michniewicz, N.D., who has no record of receiving it. We shared it with her.

Dear Dr. Whip (sic)-Michniewicz,

Concerning your recent column, you stated that 80 percent of one’s brain is made of cholesterol. I have been researching the brain/cholesterol issue because a friend was told that she has too much cholesterol in her brain. Yes, she is losing her thinking processes.

However, recent research (not Wikipedia) has shown that the glial cells in the brain are made of cholesterol, but only 12 percent, not 80 percent. These cells in turn connect the synopsis (Ed.— synapses?) — which are the real connections in the brain. Cholesterol is really necessary for brain function.

What was the source for your fact? Was it reliable?

Sincerely,

Alice Kaczmarek

Rockford

Julia Whipkey-Michniewicz responded that she had checked her records and found that the information came from notes of lectures she had attended. Her sources were: Standard Process, Dr. Lester Bryman (Ulan Nutritional) and Dr. Daniel G. Amen, M.D.

Copy Editor Susan Johnson also found the following information on the Internet:

Emily Dean, M.D., in her Internet article, “Your Bain Loves Cholesterol: Don’t Go Too Low,” refers to Dr. James Lake, a psychiatrist, who published a paper about a study of diabetic mice. He said “the researchers found that insulin-deficient diabetic mice had a reduction of a major regulator of cholesterol metabolism, leading to a reduction in brain cholesterol syntheses and lower synaptic cholesterol content (that’s bad).” Dr. Dean also noted that, “The brain contains 25 percent of the cholesterol in the body, and much of it is made right in the brain.”

Chris Masterjohn, Ph.D., writing in The Daily Lipid, Jan. 27, 2010, referred to a study in which researchers inactivated a cholesterol transporter in glial cells. Glial cells support neurons in a variety of ways; one of them is to produce secretions rich in the cholesterol necessary for synapse formation. When cholesterol in the brain proves insufficient to meet the brain’s needs, the brain can compensate by taking cholesterol from the blood.”

From the April 9-15, 2014 issue

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