New research provides 10-year estimates of dementia risk

In a recent Danish study, researchers provide 10-year absolute risk estimates for dementia specific to age, sex and common variation in the APOE gene.

The apolipoprotein E (APOE) protein is key for metabolizing cholesterol and to clear β-amyloid protein from the brain in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

The results may help find high-risk people who could benefit from early prevention.

Dementia is a major cause of disability in older people worldwide, but no effective treatment is currently available.

Reducing risk factors for dementia may help delay or prevent the development of the disease.

Previous research has shown that one-third of dementia most likely can be prevented.

Early intervention for hypertension, smoking, diabetes, obesity, depression and hearing loss may slow or prevent disease development.

If people at highest risk can be identified, a prevention that reduces risk can be started early before the disease has developed.

In the study, the team looked at data on 104 537 people in Copenhagen, Denmark, and linked it to diagnoses of dementia.

The researchers found that a combination of age, sex and a common variation in the APOE gene could identify high-risk groups.

The high-risk groups mean a 7% risk for women and 6% risk for men in their 60s; a 16% and 12% risk, respectively, for people in their 70s; and a 24% and 19% risk, respectively, for those aged 80 years and older.

The finding could find high-risk people who could benefit from interventions to reduce the risk.

Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, is an author of the study.

The study is published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

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Source: CMAJ.