Several studies have shown that men with a low blood cholesterol
level as well as those with high levels have an increased risk of
early death. A report in the March 21, 1993, New York Times described
a study by Dr Carlos Iribarren at the University of Southern California
on a cohort of 8000 Japanese-American men followed for 23 years.
The purpose was to study further the link between low blood cholesterol
levels and higher death rate. The men were divided into four groups:
healthy men, men with chronic disorders of the stomach or liver,
heavy smokers, and heavy drinkers. Within each group, subjects were
stratified according to their cholesterol level. Among men with
cholesterol levels below 189 mg/dL, death rates were higher
in the chronic illness, heavy smoker, and heavy drinker groups but
not in the group of healthy men.
This study highlights a potential threat that may have occurred
in previous studies that suggested that low cholesterol is linked
to higher death rates. The most likely threat in the previous studies