In community-dwelling older women, those with more advanced AAC had higher risk of late-life dementia, independent of cardiovascular risk factors and APOE genotype. Given the widespread use of bone density testing, simultaneously capturing AAC information may be a novel, non-invasive, scalable approach to identify older women at risk of late-life dementia.
Dementia after the age of 80 years (late-life) is increasingly common due to vascular and non-vascular risk factors. Identifying individuals at higher risk of late-life dementia remains a global priority.
In prospective study of 958 ambulant community-dwelling older women ( ≥ 70 years), lateral spine images (LSI) captured in 1998 (baseline) from a bone density machine were used to assess abdominal aortic calcification (AAC). AAC was classified into established categories (low, moderate and extensive). Cardiovascular risk factors and apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotyping were evaluated. Incident 14.5-year late-life dementia was identified from linked hospital and mortality records.
At baseline women were 75.0 ± 2.6 years, 44.7% had low AAC, 36.4% had moderate AAC and 18.9% had extensive AAC. Over 14.5- years, 150 (15.7%) women had a late-life dementia hospitalisation (n = 132) and/or death (n = 58). Compared to those with low AAC, women with moderate and extensive AAC were more likely to suffer late-life dementia hospitalisations (9.3%, 15.5%, 18.3%, respectively) and deaths (2.8%, 8.3%, 9.4%, respectively). After adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors and APOE, women with moderate and extensive AAC had twice the relative hazards of late-life dementia (moderate, aHR 2.03 95%CI 1.38–2.97; extensive, aHR 2.10 95%CI 1.33–3.32), compared to women with low AAC.