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Dementia Linked to Both High and Low Thyrotropin Levels

Alzheimer's disease risk increased in women, but not men, with thyroid disease

TUESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Abnormal thyrotropin levels in women are associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease, according to the July 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Zaldy S. Tan, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues used the Framingham cohort to estimate the risk of developing dementia based on baseline serum thyrotropin concentrations in 1,864 patients who were cognitively intact and without thyroid disease at enrollment. Gender-specific Cox proportional hazards models compared the middle tertile of thyrotropin concentration to the upper and lower tertiles.

The study found 209 patients developed Alzheimer's disease in a mean 12.7 years of follow-up. Women in the upper and lower tertiles of thyrotropin levels were 2.15 and 2.39 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, respectively, than those in the middle tertile after the researchers controlled for a number of covariates. There was no relationship between thyrotropin levels and Alzheimer's disease in men.

"Low and high thyrotropin levels were associated with an increased risk of incident AD (Alzheimer's disease) in women but not in men," the authors write. "These findings should be considered hypothesis generating and should be validated in other populations before clinical conclusions are drawn."

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