Pre-eclampsia is a condition of high blood pressure and damage to organ systems like the liver and kidneys during pregnancy. Commonly associated risk factors include kidney disease and vitamin D deficiency, but recent evidence suggests that pre-eclampsia may also be associated with the risk of dementia in later life. The aim of this study is to evaluate associations between pre-eclampsia and dementia in the later stages of life.

This is a nationwide register-based cohort study that included a total of 1,178,005 women with at least one live birth or stillbirth. The primary outcome of the study was the hazard ratios comparing dementia in women with or without pre-eclampsia using Cox regression.

At 20,352,695 years of follow-up, women with pre-eclampsia had a three times greater risk of vascular dementia (hazard ration 3.46), compared with no history of pre-eclampsia. The association with vascular dementia was stronger for the late-onset disease (HR 6.53) than for early-onset disease (2.32). Adjustment for hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease attenuated the hazard rations moderately.

The research concluded that pre-eclampsia was significantly associated with the risk of vascular dementia, especially for late-onset disease. The findings also suggested that CVD, diabetes, and hypertension did not substantially mediate with the disease.