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Anemia Linked to Elevated Dementia Risk in Older Adults

Findings remain significant after adjustment for demographics, anemia measures, comorbidities

Anemia Linked to Elevated Dementia Risk in Older Adults

WEDNESDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Anemia is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia in older adults, according to a study published online July 31 in Neurology.

Chang Hyung Hong, M.D., Ph.D., from the Ajou University School of Medicine in Suwon, South Korea, and colleagues examined the correlation between anemia (defined according to World Health Organization criteria) and incident dementia in a cohort of 2,552 older adults (mean age, 76.1 years) participating in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study. Participants were free of dementia at baseline. Dementia medication use, hospital records, or a change in Modified Mini-Mental State (3MS) score of more than 1.5 standard deviations from mean were used to determine a dementia diagnosis.

The researchers found that 15.4 percent of participants had anemia at baseline and 17.8 percent of participants developed dementia over the 11-year follow-up period. Compared to those without anemia, participants with baseline anemia had a significantly increased risk of dementia (23 versus 17 percent; hazard ratio, 1.64). After adjustment for demographics, APOE ε4, baseline 3MS score, comorbidities, and renal function, the association remained significant. The results were not substantially changed with additional adjustments for anemia measures (mean corpuscular volume, red cell distribution width), erythropoietin, and C-reactive protein. The risk of developing dementia was not affected by sex or race.

"Findings suggest that further study of anemia as a risk factor for dementia and a target for intervention for cognitive health is warranted," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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