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Meta-Analysis Links PTSD to Increased Dementia Risk

Risk up in veterans and general population, remains significant after exclusion of high-bias studies

THURSDAY, Sept. 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with the risk for dementia, according to a meta-analysis published online Sept. 15 in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Mia Maria Günak, from University College London, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to quantify the risk for future dementia associated with PTSD. Nine electronic databases were searched for longitudinal studies; estimates were pooled across studies.

The researchers found that PTSD was associated with a significantly increased risk for all-cause dementia (hazard ratio, 1.61 in 1,693,678 participants from eight studies). In veterans and the general population, the pooled hazard ratios were 1.61 (905,896 participants in five studies) and 2.11 (787,782 participants in three studies). After excluding studies with a high risk for bias, the association between PTSD and dementia remained significant (hazard ratio, 1.55; 1,684,928 participants in seven studies). There was evidence of high heterogeneity in the studies, most of which were retrospective.

“Our review provides the first evidence that PTSD is a strong and potentially modifiable risk factor for all-cause dementia and, given the cost of dementia and its consequences for individuals and their families, PTSD prevention strategies should form part of worldwide public health initiatives,” the authors write.

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