Most deprived are nearly twice as likely to develop dementia

May 16, 2018, University College London
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Older adults in England with fewer financial resources are more likely to develop dementia, according to new UCL research.

Researchers analysed data from over 6000 born between 1902 and 1943 and found that the 20% most deprived adults were 50% more likely to develop than the 20% least deprived adults.

The study, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, is the first of its kind to determine which socioeconomic factors influence dementia and found limited wealth in late life is associated with increased risk of dementia, independent of education.

"Dementia is a progressive neurodegenerative condition with devastating consequences to individuals, their families and governments around the world. Our efforts are unified in identifying the risk factors associated with a delay in the onset of dementia or a slower progression." said lead author, Dr. Dorina Cadar (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health). "Our findings demonstrate that socioeconomic determinants influence dementia incidence, suggesting a higher risk for individuals with fewer financial resources."

Researchers analysed data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a prospective cohort study that is representative of the English population. Two independent groups were derived using a median split (born between 1902-1925 and 1926-1943) to investigate if there were differences over time.

The authors found that socioeconomic inequalities were more prominent for individuals born in later years (from 1926 onwards) than in those born earlier in the 20th century.

Professor Andrew Steptoe (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health), senior author of the study, explained: "Our study confirms that the risk of dementia is reduced among well-off older people compared with those who have fewer economic resources. Many factors could be involved. Differences in healthy lifestyle and medical risk factors are relevant. It may also be that better off people have greater social and cultural opportunities that allow them to remain actively engaged with the world."

Dr. Cadar added: "The research demonstrates the importance of socioeconomic influences on dementia incidence. We hope our findings help inform public strategies for dementia prevention evidencing why socioeconomic gaps should be targeted to reduce health disparities and enhance engagement in socio-cultural activities that ultimately contribute to a higher mental resilience or cognitive reserve."

Explore further: Higher risk of dementia among frail older adults

More information: JAMA Psychiatry (2018). jamanetwork.com/journals/jamap … psychiatry.2018.1012

Related Stories

Higher risk of dementia among frail older adults

November 16, 2017
The risk of developing dementia is around 3.5 times higher in frail older adults than in their non-frail peers, according to a new study from UCL.

Rate of dementia on the decline—but beware of growing numbers

April 17, 2018
The good news? The rate of older Americans with dementia is on the decline.

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

February 23, 2018
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 ...

Older adults who have slower walking speeds may have increased risk for dementia

March 23, 2018
As of 2015, nearly 47 million people around the world had dementia, a memory problem significant enough to affect your ability to carry out your usual tasks. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, but other ...

Dementia increases the risk of 30-day readmission to the hospital after discharge

February 23, 2018
About 25 percent of older adults admitted to hospitals have dementia and are at increased risk for serious problems like in-hospital falls and delirium (the medical term for an abrupt, rapid change in mental function). As ...

Global longitudinal study confirms obesity increases dementia risk

November 30, 2017
People who have a high body mass index (BMI) are more likely to develop dementia than those with a normal weight, according to a new UCL-led study.

Recommended for you

Greening vacant lots reduces feelings of depression in city dwellers, study finds

July 20, 2018
Greening vacant urban land significantly reduces feelings of depression and improves overall mental health for the surrounding residents, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Arts & Sciences ...

New study questions use of talking therapy as a treatment for schizophrenia

July 20, 2018
The findings of the first meta-analysis examining the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis (CBTp) on improving the quality of life and functioning and reducing distress of people diagnosed with schizophrenia ...

People love to hate on do-gooders, especially at work

July 20, 2018
Sometimes, it doesn't pay to be a do-gooder, according to a new University of Guelph study.

Perfectionism in young children may indicate OCD risk

July 19, 2018
Studying young children, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that kids who possess tendencies toward perfectionism and excessive self-control are twice as likely as other children to ...

Younger children tend to make more informed decisions

July 19, 2018
A new study from the University of Waterloo has found that in some ways, the older you get the worse your decision making becomes.

Finding well-being through an aerial, as opposed to ground-level, view of time

July 19, 2018
Do today and yesterday and tomorrow loom large in your thinking, with the more distant past and future barely visible on the horizon? That's not unusual in today's time-pressed world—and it seems a recipe for angst.

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.