Men who are taller in young adulthood, as an indicator of early-life circumstances, may have a lower risk of dementia in old age, suggests a study published today in eLife .
Finding ways to identify individuals at risk of dementia is essential. It can help people take preventive measures or plan for their future care. The study, originally posted on bioRxiv, indicates that young adult height might be one potential risk factor to consider.
Previous studies have suggested that height may be a risk factor for dementia, but much of this research was not able to take into account genetic, environmental, or other early-life factors that may be linked to both height and dementia.
We wanted to see if body height in young men is associated with diagnosis of dementia, while exploring whether intelligence test scores, educational level, and underlying environmental and genetic factors shared by brothers explain the relationship." Terese Sara Høj Jørgensen, lead author, Assistant Professor at the Section of Social Medicine, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, in Denmark
To do this, Jørgensen and her colleagues analyzed data on 666,333 Danish men born between 1939 and 1959, including 70,608 brothers and 7,388 twins, from Danish national registries. They found a total of 10,599 men who developed dementia later in life.
Their adjusted analysis of this group showed that there was about a 10% reduction in the risk of developing dementia for about every 6cm of height in individuals above the average height. When the team took into account the potential role of intelligence or education, the unadjusted relationship between height and dementia risk was only slightly reduced.
They found that the relationship between height and dementia also existed when they looked at brothers with different heights, suggesting that genetics and family characteristics alone do not explain why shorter men had a greater dementia risk. This was also true when they studied data concerning twins, although the results for this group were less certain. Related Stories
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