Study: Ten-year dementia risk estimates may help with early prevention

Ten-year absolute risk estimates for dementia were established to help identify individuals who could potentially benefit from early targeted prevention.

A study established a 10-year absolute risk estimate for dementia in an effort to help identify individuals who could potentially benefit from early targeted prevention. Photo courtesy of Max Pixel
A study established a 10-year absolute risk estimate for dementia in an effort to help identify individuals who could potentially benefit from early targeted prevention. Photo courtesy of Max Pixel

Researchers examined data on 104,537 people in Copenhagen, Denmark, and linked it to diagnoses of dementia based on age, sex and common variation in the APOE gene. Their findings were published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

One-third of dementia cases worldwide could potentially be prevented through better management of lifestyle factors that include smoking, hypertension, depression and hearing loss over the course of a lifetime, according to a different study published last year.

“If those individuals at highest risk can be identified, a targeted prevention with risk-factor reduction can be initiated early before disease has developed, thus delaying onset of dementia or preventing it,” Dr. Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, a professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, said in a press release.

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Although dementia is a major cause of disability in older adults worldwide, no effective treatment is currently available.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from the Copenhagen General Population Study that was collected from 2003 to 2014 and the Copenhagen City Heart Study from 1991 to 1994 and 2001 to 2003. Participants underwent a questionnaire, physical examination and blood sampling.

Researchers found that a combination of age, sex and a common variation in the APOE gene could identify high-risk groups. The APOE gene is a class of proteins involved in the metabolism of fats in the body, and is a factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

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The researchers found a 7 percent risk for women and 6 percent risk for men in their 60s. For those in their 70s with the gene, the risk is 16 percent risk for men and 12 percent for women. For those in their 80s, the risk is 24 percent for men and 19 percent for men.

The researchers caution that while data on a large number of people was reviewed for the study, the conclusions have potential limits because it only included people of white European background.

“The present absolute 10-year risk estimates of dementia by age, sex and common variation in the APOE gene have the potential to identify high-risk individuals for early targeted preventive interventions,” the authors concluded.

ByAllen Cone