Risk factors for dementia in the ninth decade of life and beyond: A study of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921

Ruth Sibbett, Tom C Russ, Ian Deary, John Starr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: With increasing numbers of people surviving beyond eighty years, this section of the population demands attention to reduce the impact of dementia. In order to develop effective preventative strategies, it is essential to understand age-specific risk factor profiles for dementia: do risk factors for dementia in those in theirs sixties and seventies persist into oldest age? The aims of this study were to determine incident dementia and to investigate the risk profile for dementia from age 79 to 95 years in a well-characterised cohort.

Methods: Participants underwent intelligence testing at age 11 and were followed-up from at 79 years of age.Variables included: age, sex, age 11 IQ, APOE ɛ4, education, diabetes, hypertension, statin use, physical activity at leisure and in occupation, symptoms of depression, height, number of teeth, body mass index, blood pressure,cholesterol and HbA1c. Dementia cases were ascertained from death certificates, electronic patient records and clinical reviews. Logistic regression analysis determined the degree of risk for dementia associated with each variable. Analyses were completed both with and without the physical activity variables due to the significant number of missing data for these variables.

Results: Of the eligible cohort, n = 410 participants remained dementia-free and n = 110 had developed probable dementia. When logistic regression analyses contained all variables, complete data was available for n = 234 (n = 48with dementia). Results demonstrated that positive APOE ɛ4 carrier status (OR: 2.15, 95% CI: 1.04, 4.42) and greater lifetime physical activity (OR: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.28) increased the risk for dementia. A reduction in risk for dementia was seen for hypertension (OR: 0.47, 95% CI: 0.23, 0.98). When physical activity variables were excluded,the number with complete data increased to n = 377 (n = 80 with dementia). APOE ɛ4 remained significant(OR: 2.37; 95% CI: 1.37, 4.07), as did hypertension (OR: 0.55; 95% CI: 0.32, 0.93). Conclusions: Dementia incidence was consistent with expected rates. The risk profile for dementia in this cohort of participants aged 79–95 confirmed previous findings that risk factors differ for those over 79 years. Further evidence is recommended in order that the risk profile for this age group can be accurately determined.
Original languageEnglish
Article number205
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • dementia
  • cohort
  • incidence
  • risk factor


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