"Although we often think of cholesterol as a threat, cholesterol is actually an essential component of healthy cells and is especially important in neurons or brain cells,” Monica Reinagel writes. In this article, Reinagel considers the role of cholesterol in brain health and reviews a range of recommendations pertaining to optimal cholesterol levels, high-fat diets, and statins prescriptions for an elderly population. She notes, “High cholesterol levels at 80 may be just what the doctor ordered. Specifically, researchers have observed that elderly people with high LDL cholesterol levels are less likely to have dementia than those with low cholesterol levels. ... research has shown that giving statins to older people who have elevated cholesterol but no other signs of heart disease doesn’t have any benefit at all. In fact, it may actually do some harm."