Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Having multiple conditions that affect the heart are linked to a greater risk of dementia than having high genetic risk, according to a largescale new study co-led by the University of Oxford.

Illustration showing neuroscientists holding icons of a heart and brain.

Conducted in collaboration with the University of Exeter, the study is among the largest ever to examine the link between several heart-related conditions and dementia, and one of the few to look at the complex issue of multiple health conditions.

Published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity, the paper looked at data from more than 200,000 people, aged 60 or above, and of European ancestry in UK Biobank. The international research team identified those who had been diagnosed with the cardiometabolic conditions diabetes, stroke, or a heart attack, or any combination of the three, and those who went on to develop dementia.

Within this study population, the researchers found that the more of these three conditions a person had, the higher their risk of dementia. People who had all three conditions were three times more likely to develop dementia than people who had a high genetic risk.

Dr Xin You Tai, Lead Author and Doctoral Student at University of Oxford, said: 'Dementia is a major global issue, with predictions that 135 million worldwide will have the devastating condition by 2050. We found that having such heart-related conditions is linked to dementia risk to a greater extent than genetic risk. So whatever genetic risk you were born with, you can potentially make a big impact on reducing risk of dementia by looking after heart and metabolic health throughout life.'

The team, which included the universities of Glasgow and Michigan, found that nearly 20,000 of the UK Biobank participants they studied had been diagnosed with one of the three conditions. Just over 2,000 had two conditions, and 122 had all three.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website.

Similar stories

EAVI2020: The Quest for an HIV Vaccine

In this long read published to coincide with International AIDS Day, we explore how an international collaboration – of which the University of Oxford is a key partner – has boosted HIV vaccine research. We thank our partners at Imperial College London for allowing us to reproduce and abridge this article.

New SMRU building opened in Thailand to provide health care to marginalized populations

The inauguration of a new joint Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) and Borderland Health Foundation (BHF) Building took place in Mae Ramat, Thailand, this week.

Smoking increases the risks of 56 diseases in Chinese adults

Smoking increases the risks of 56 diseases and kills more than one million adults in China each year from 22 different causes, according to new research published in The Lancet Public Health.

Success for Oxford researchers in The Genetics Society 2023 Awards

Researchers from Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Radcliffe Department of Medicine and Nuffield Department of Population Health have been recgonised in The Genetics Society 2023 awards.

New Studentship honours Enzo Cerundolo

A new Studentship has been announced in memory of the late MRC HIU Director and MRC WIMM Group Leader.