- Poor pulmonary function and respiratory disease are associated with a higher risk for dementia, according to a meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies.
Why this matters
- The aging of the population means the absolute number of individuals with dementia worldwide is expected to triple by 2050.
- The etiology behind the associations is unknown and should be further evaluated but could involve decreased oxygen supply to the brain.
- Clinicians should aggressively treat diminished pulmonary function or respiratory disease.
- A meta-analysis of 10 longitudinal cohort studies of pulmonary function/dementia, 11 studies of respiratory disease/dementia, and 1 study that evaluated both.
- Funding: None.
- The lowest (vs highest) quartile of FEV1 was associated with a nonsignificant 46% increased risk for dementia:
- Pooled HR, 1.46 (95% CI, 0.77-2.75; I2=69.3%; n=62,209 in 2 studies).
- A decline (vs no decline) of 1 standard deviation in FEV1 was associated with a 28% higher risk for dementia:
- Pooled HR, 1.28 (95% CI, 1.03-1.60; I2=78.2%; n=67,505 in 5 studies).
- Respiratory disease (COPD, pulmonary disorder, asthma, pneumonia) was associated with a 54% increased risk for dementia:
- Pooled HR, 1.54 (95% CI, 1.30-1.81; I2=92.4%; n=288,641 in 11 studies).
- Observational design.
- Moderate to high heterogeneity across studies.