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Anemia Linked to Dementia Risk in Older Adults

Researchers identify possible interventional target for cognitive health (July 31)

In older adults, anemia may indicate an increased risk of dementia later in life, according to a new study published in Neurology.

Researchers studied data from 2,552 older adults (mean age: 76.1 years) who participated in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study. A total of 392 subjects (15.4%) had anemia at baseline.

During 11 years of follow-up, 455 participants (17.8%) developed dementia. The investigators noted that the risk of dementia was increased in those with baseline anemia compared with those without anemia (23% vs. 17%, respectively; hazard ratio = 1.64) Adjustments for anemia measures (i.e., mean corpuscular volume and red-cell distribution width), erythropoietin, and C-reactive protein did not appreciably change the results.

The authors suggest that further study of anemia as a risk factor for dementia and as a target for intervention for cognitive health may be warranted.

Source: Neurology; July 31, 2013.

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