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Age-Associated Health Decline Risk Factor for Alzheimer's

Each health deficit accumulated increases risk of dementia significantly by 3.2 percent

THURSDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- A frailty index of 19 deficits not previously reported to predict dementia is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD), according to a study published online July 13 in Neurology.

Xiaowei Song, Ph.D., from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and colleagues assessed whether dementia risk can be estimated solely based on health deficits not known to predict dementia. Data from 7,239 cognitively healthy, older adults were used to construct a frailty index of 19 deficits not known to predict dementia (nontraditional dementia risk factors [FI-NTRF]). The five- and 10-year risks of AD and dementia were estimated at baseline.

The investigators found that the FI-NTRF was closely associated with age. There was an exponential increase in the incidence of AD with FI-NTRF. The odds ratio of dementia increased significantly by 3.2 percent for each deficit accumulated, after adjusting for age, sex, education, and baseline cognition, outperforming the individual cognitive risk factors. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the FI-NTRF was 0.66 ± 0.03 for discriminating individuals with AD and all-cause dementia from those who were cognitively healthy.

"Comprehensive re-evaluation of a well-characterized cohort showed that age-associated decline in health status, in addition to traditional risk factors, is a risk factor for AD and dementia," the authors write.

Two of the study authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and health care industries.

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