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Self-Rating of Health As Poor, Fair Ups Risk of Dementia

Poor self-reported health also correlates with vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of incident dementia is significantly higher in individuals who rate their health as poor or fair, especially in those with no cognitive complaints or with functional disability, according to a study published online Oct. 5 in Neurology.

Claire Montlahuc, from Hopital de la Salpêtrière in Paris, and colleagues investigated the correlation between self-rated health and incident dementia, and the impact of cognitive complaints, depressive symptoms, and functional status on this relationship. A total of 8,169 community-dwelling participants of the Three City (3C) study, aged 65 years or older, rated their health at the baseline examination from 1999 to 2001. Dementia was screened and diagnosed during a median follow-up of 6.7 years. Based on baseline self-rated health (good, fair, or poor), hazard ratios (HRs) of dementia were estimated after adjusting for potential confounders.

The investigators found that 618 patients developed dementia during a follow-up of 46,990 person-years. Compared to participants with good self-rated health, those with poor or fair self-rated health had an increased risk of dementia (adjusted HR, 1.70 and 1.34, respectively). Poor self-reported health correlated with both vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease. In participants without cognitive complaints or functional disability, self-rated health was a stronger predictor of dementia (risk of dementia in subjects without cognitive complaints who rated their health as poor, 1.96).

"Participants rating their health as poor or fair at baseline were at increased risk of incident dementia during follow-up," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The 3C study was partially funded by Sanofi-Aventis.

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