Medications

Common medications alter flu virus activity

Although the influenza virus varies a lot from year to year, the flu usually contributes to approximately 1000 deaths a year in Norway. The different measures used to stop the spread of coronavirus brought the flu infection ...

Cardiology

Geographic disparities in lower extremity amputation rates

A lower extremity amputation in a patient with peripheral artery disease—narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the legs or feet—is the culmination of years of failure by the U.S. health system. Our study, published ...

Cardiology

Low-carb diet shown to improve cardiometabolic risk profile

Low-carbohydrate diets are popular for weight loss and diabetes control. However, for most of the past 50 years, medical and public health experts have instead embraced low-fat diets, concerned about the health effects of ...

Diabetes

Risk of stroke increases with insulin resistance, study suggests

A study of more than 100,000 people with type 2 diabetes (T2D), presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), held online this year, found that insulin resistance is associated ...

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipidic, waxy steroid found in the cell membranes and transported in the blood plasma of all animals. It is an essential component of mammalian cell membranes where it is required to establish proper membrane permeability and fluidity. Cholesterol is the principal sterol synthesized by animals, but small quantities are synthesized in other eukaryotes, such as plants and fungi. It is almost completely absent among prokaryotes, which include bacteria. Cholesterol is classified as a sterol.

Since cholesterol is essential for life, it is primarily synthesized de novo within the body. However excessive levels of cholesterol in blood circulation are strongly associated with progression of atherosclerosis. For an adult, typical total body cholesterol synthesis is about 1 gram per day (less if dietary intake is high) and total body cholesterol content is about 35 g. Average dietary intake in western societies is 0.2 - 0.3 grams. Cholesterol is excreted by the liver via the bile into the digestive tract. Typically about 50% of the excreted cholesterol is reabsorbed by the small bowel back into the blood stream.

The name cholesterol originates from the Greek chole- (bile) and stereos (solid), and the chemical suffix -ol for an alcohol, as François Poulletier de la Salle first identified cholesterol in solid form in gallstones, in 1769. However, it was only in 1815 that chemist Eugène Chevreul named the compound "cholesterine".

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