Leo Sher, M.D.
A research report, “Clinically significant anxiety as a risk factor for dementia in the elderly community” has been published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica online ahead of print (1).
The authors examined whether clinically significant anxiety is an independent risk factor for dementia. They used data from a 5‐wave, longitudinal community study performed in Zaragoza, Spain. A community sample of 4803 persons aged 55 years or older was enrolled. Researchers used a Zaragoza Dementia and Depression (ZARADEMP) interview which consists of several instruments including the Mini‐Mental Status Examination (MMSE).
The authors employed a competing risk model. They suggest that this is an advantage over traditional models (e.g., Kaplan–Meier and Cox regression), which do not take into consideration competing risks of death and may overestimate the risk of disease in the presence of elevated rates of mortality.
The authors found that clinically significant anxiety confers a 2.7‐fold risk of dementia, even when controlling for depression. The authors noted that a limitation of their study is that they did not control for the use of psychotropic medications which may increase risk of dementia.
1. Santabárbara J, Lopez-Anton R, de la Cámara C, Lobo E, Gracia-García P, Villagrasa B, Bueno-Notivol J, Marcos G, Lobo A.Clinically significant anxiety as a risk factor for dementia in the elderly community. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2018 Oct 10. doi: 10.1111/acps.12966. [Epub ahead of print]