Hospital-Diagnosed Infections Associated with Higher Dementia Risk Compared to Autoimmune Diseases: Study

Hospital-Diagnosed Infections Associated with Higher Dementia Risk Compared to Autoimmune Diseases: Study

In a recent study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers have found a potential link between hospital-diagnosed infections and the development of dementia. The study revealed a 1.49-fold increase in the rate of dementia associated with infections, with the increases being greater in the short term compared to the long term.

On the other hand, the study found no significant association between autoimmune diseases and dementia. Autoimmune diseases were associated with a small 1.04-fold increase in dementia risk, especially after adjusting for infections. This suggests that there may be infection-specific processes at play in the development of dementia, rather than systemic inflammation caused by autoimmune diseases.

The researchers used population-based Danish national registries to conduct a 40-year study from 1978 to 2018. The study included over 1.4 million individuals aged 65 and older and followed them for a total of 14 million person-years. The study excluded individuals with a prior dementia diagnosis or HIV infections.

During the study period, approximately 45% of individuals experienced infections, while 9% had autoimmune diseases. Respiratory infections were the most common type of infection, followed by gastrointestinal and urinary infections. Rheumatoid arthritis and polymyalgia rheumatica were the most common autoimmune diseases.

The study findings suggest that infections may play a role in the development of dementia, while autoimmune diseases have a smaller impact on dementia risk. Further research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms and potential preventive strategies for dementia.

Overall, this study contributes to our understanding of the complex relationship between infections, autoimmune diseases, and dementia. It highlights the need for further investigation into the specific processes and factors that contribute to the development of dementia.

Janbek J, Laursen TM, Frimodt-Møller N, Magyari M, et al. Hospital-diagnosed infections, autoimmune diseases, and subsequent dementia incidence. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(9):e2332635. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.32635

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