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Widespread Pain Tied to Dementia, Alzheimer Disease, Stroke

After adjustment for multiple variables, widespread pain appeared to increase subsequent risk

TUESDAY, Aug. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Widespread pain, a common subtype of chronic pain, is associated with the subsequent risk for incident dementia, Alzheimer disease dementia, and stroke, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine.

Kanran Wang and Hong Luio, from the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University in China, conducted a retrospective cohort study using data from the U.S. community-based Framingham Heart Study to examine the association between widespread pain and subsequent dementia, Alzheimer disease dementia, and stroke. At a single time point between 1990 and 1994, pain status was assessed; dementia follow-up was performed across a median of 10 years for those who were free from dementia at baseline.

The researchers found that 347 participants fulfilled the criteria for widespread pain and 2,117 did not (14.1 and 85.9 percent, respectively). A total of 128 of the 188 cases of incident all-cause dementia were Alzheimer disease dementia. During the follow-up period, 139 patients suffered stroke. Widespread pain was associated with an increased risk for all-cause dementia, Alzheimer disease dementia, and stroke (hazard ratios, 1.43, 1.47, and 1.29, respectively) after adjustment for multiple variables, including age and sex. In the subgroup of individuals aged older than 65 years, comparable results were seen.

“Clinicians should be made aware of these associations and seek earlier diagnosis to provide timely therapies for better outcomes,” the authors write.

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