Parental family history of dementia in relation to subclinical brain disease and dementia risk

Neurology Journal
April 25, 2017
vol. 88 no. 17 1642-1649

Frank J. Wolters, MD, Sven J. van der Lee, MD, Peter J. Koudstaal, MD, PhD, Cornelia M. van Duijn, MD, PhD, Albert Hofman, MD, PhD, M. Kamran Ikram, MD, PhD, Meike W. Vernooij, MD, PhD and M. Arfan Ikram, MD, PhD


Objective: To determine the association of parental family history with risk of dementia by age at onset and sex of affected parent in a population-based cohort.

Methods: From 2000 to 2002, we assessed parental history of dementia in participants without dementia of the Rotterdam Study. We investigated associations of parental history with risk of dementia until 2015, adjusting for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, and known genetic risk variants. Furthermore, we determined the association between parental history and markers of neurodegeneration and vascular disease on MRI.

Results: Of 2,087 participants (mean age 64 years, 55% female), 407 (19.6%) reported a history of dementia in either parent (mean age at diagnosis 79 years). During a mean follow-up of 12.2 years, 142 participants developed dementia. Parental history was associated with risk of dementia independently of known genetic risk factors (hazard ratio [HR] 1.67, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12–2.48), in particular when parents were diagnosed at younger age (<80 years: HR 2.58, 95% CI 1.61–4.15; ≥80 years: HR 1.01, 95% CI 0.58–1.77).

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