TUESDAY, Oct. 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Preeclampsia seems to be associated with an increased risk for dementia, especially vascular dementia, with a stronger correlation for late-onset disease, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in The BMJ.

Saima Basit, from the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues conducted a nationwide register-based cohort study involving women with at least one live birth or stillbirth between 1978 and 2015. Hazard ratios were estimated comparing dementia rates among women with and without a history of preeclampsia.

The cohort included 1,178,005 women with 20,352,695 person-years of follow-up. The researchers found that compared with women with no history of preeclampsia, women with a history of preeclampsia had more than three times the risk for vascular dementia (hazard ratio, 3.46). The correlation seemed to be stronger for late-onset versus early-onset disease (hazard ratios, 6.53 and 2.32, respectively). The hazard ratios were moderately attenuated with adjustment for diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The correlation with vascular dementia was unlikely to be explained by body mass index. Only modest associations were seen for Alzheimer’s disease and other/unspecified dementia (hazard ratios, 1.45 and 1.40, respectively).

“Our findings suggest that asking about a history of preeclampsia could help physicians to identify a group of women who might benefit from early attention to modifiable vascular risk factors for dementia,” the authors write. “Our findings also support a common underlying mechanism for preeclampsia and vascular dementia.”

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