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Dementia Risk Ticks Up in Individuals With Multiple Long-term Conditions

For a paper appearing in JAMA Network Open, a team from the University of Oxford, University of Exeter, and University of Hamburg uncover apparent ties between dementia risk and "multimorbidity" involving other diseases. Based on data for 206,960 participants followed for up to 15 years after their enrollment in the UK Biobank between 2006 and 2010, including the presence of absence of high-risk apolipoprotein epsilon 4 variants linked to genetic risk of Alzheimer's, the researchers documented increased dementia incidence in individuals diagnosed with two or more long-term health conditions. Over the follow-up time, they saw a 63 percent rise in dementia risk in individuals with multimorbidity, even after adjusting for genetic risk, age, and other factors, although some co-occurring conditions boosted dementia risk more than others. "This cohort study found that multimorbidity was associated with increased risk of incident dementia," they write, adding that such risk "was highest in women with hypertension, diabetes, and CHD or with pain, osteoporosis, and dyspepsia disease clusters in men with diabetes and hypertension or with CHD, hypertension, and stroke disease clusters."