HealthDay News — Low bone mineral density is associated with an increased risk for developing dementia, according to a study published online March 22 in Neurology.
Tian Xiao, MD, from the Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues examined how dementia risk was affected by bone mineral density in community-dwelling older adults in a prospective population-based cohort study. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to obtain bone mineral density at the femoral neck, lumbar spine, and total body and the trabecular bone score in 3651 participants free from dementia between 2002 and 2005.
The researchers found that 688 participants (18.8%) developed incident dementia during a median of 11.1 years, of whom 76.7% developed Alzheimer disease. Participants with lower bone mineral density at the femoral neck were more likely to develop all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease during the whole follow-up (hazard ratios, 1.12 and 1.14, respectively). The risk for dementia was greatest for groups with the lowest tertile of bone mineral density within the first 10 years following baseline (hazard ratios, 2.03, 1.42, and 1.59 for femoral neck bone mineral density, total body bone mineral density, and trabecular bone score, respectively).
“It’s possible that bone loss may occur already in the earliest phases of dementia, years before any clinical symptoms manifest themselves,” a coauthor said in a statement. “If that were the case, bone loss could be an indicator of risk for dementia and people with bone loss could be targeted for screening and improved care.”