Older people living in deprived areas face increased risk of developing dementia

February 23, 2018, Trinity College Dublin

People who live in disadvantaged areas have a greater risk of developing cognitive impairment (an early risk factor for dementia) according to research involving teams from Trinity College Dublin, Ulster University, Maynooth University, and clinicians from health services, North and South.

The findings of their study, just published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Association, are based on novel analysis of data collected for the TUDA Ageing study of over 5,000 across the Island of Ireland, which uses geo-referenced, address-based techniques to map and link participants to official socioeconomic indicators of deprivation for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Compared with people in the least deprived , those living in the most deprived areas had: spent three years less in formal education; higher rates of smoking and higher alcohol consumption; higher rates of obesity; higher blood pressure; and a higher risk of diabetes. Older people living in deprived areas across the island of Ireland were also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

Even after all these factors were taken into consideration in the analysis of the study results, older people living in the most deprived areas were found to be at a 40% higher risk of having compared with people of the same age living in the least deprived areas. This suggests that factors relating to the living environment, such as income inequality and access to resources, may be implicated.

The researchers hope the findings may shape international policy to improve health outcomes in , specifically in the area of preventing dementia. The findings identify the potential for effective dementia prevention through targeted interventions that modify risk factors in communities with the greatest area-level socioeconomic deprivation.

Professor Adrian Moore, Head of the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Ulster University, is the senior author of the paper. He said: "This is the first study of its kind to use this particular geo-referencing methodology in a cross-jurisdictional manner to integrate data from these nationally independent datasets, thus enabling the TUDA study cohort as a whole to be examined in terms of the underlying socioeconomic profile of the base populations. This provided a unique opportunity to link area-level deprivation with cognitive performance among older adults from two separate health systems."

Explore further: Poorer survival rates for adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia living in deprived areas

More information: Adrian McCann et al. Effect of Area-Level Socioeconomic Deprivation on Risk of Cognitive Dysfunction in Older Adults, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2018). DOI: 10.1111/jgs.15258

Related Stories

Poorer survival rates for adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia living in deprived areas

February 1, 2018
Adults with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia living in deprived areas of England have poorer survival rates, a new study has found.

Long-term health conditions drive A&E visits, not lack of GP services

January 16, 2018
Rising accident and emergency attendance rates are driven by patients' long term health conditions, and are not related to lack of GP provision, according to a study by Queen Mary University of London of more than 800,000 ...

Dementia and cognitive impairment more prevalent in rural than urban seniors

December 12, 2017
Americans who live in urban areas tend to be healthier than individuals living in rural settings. While this healthcare disparity has been examined for more than a decade, researchers present the first nationally representative ...

Drinking heavily is disproportionately harmful for the poorest in society, with a greater risk of dying or becoming

May 11, 2017
Drinking heavily is disproportionately harmful for the poorest in society, with a greater risk of dying or becoming ill due to alcohol consumption.

As hearing fades with age, dementia risk may rise

December 7, 2017
(HealthDay)—Age can often bring a loss of hearing, and for some, mental decline in the form of dementia. But are the two linked?

Recommended for you

Early physical therapy benefits low-back pain patients

May 22, 2018
Patients with low-back pain are better off seeing a physical therapist first, according to a study of 150,000 insurance claims.

Closing coal, oil power plants leads to healthier babies

May 22, 2018
Shuttering coal- and oil-fired power plants lowers the rate of preterm births in neighboring communities and improves fertility, according to two new University of California, Berkeley, studies.

Insufficient sleep, even without extended wakefulness, leads to performance impairments

May 21, 2018
Millions of individuals obtain insufficient sleep on a daily basis, which can lead to impaired performance and other adverse physiological outcomes. To what extent these impairments are caused by the short sleep duration ...

Avoiding the car for travel could significantly lower risk of illness and death

May 21, 2018
People who are more active when commuting to work by walking or cycling could be cutting their relative risk of developing ischaemic heart disease or stroke by 11% and their relative risk of dying from these diseases by 30%, ...

New study shows higher formaldehyde risk in e-cigarettes than previously thought

May 21, 2018
Portland State University researchers who published an article three years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine about the presence of previously undiscovered forms of formaldehyde in e-cigarette vapor revisited their ...

Sleep better, parent better: Study shows link between maternal sleep and permissive parenting

May 21, 2018
Research has shown that consistently not getting enough sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, can put you at risk for a number of health conditions. But how does sleep, or the lack of it, affect how you parent?

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.