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Older adults with hypothyroidism at increased risk for dementia


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Individuals aged 65 years and older with a history of hypothyroidism were associated with an 81% increased risk for dementia, researchers reported in Neurology.

“In some cases, thyroid disorders have been associated with dementia symptoms that can be reversible with treatment,” Chien-Hsiang Weng, MD, MPH, clinical assistant professor at Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School and physician at Coastal Medical Hillside Family Medicine, said in a related press release.

Source: Adobe Stock.

Source: Adobe Stock.

Weng and colleagues conducted a nationwide population-based, case-control study and utilized the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database to identify 7,843 adults with newly diagnosed dementia (mean age, 74.9 years), who were matched with the same number of adults without dementia (mean age, 74.5 years). Of 15,686 total participants, 102 had hypothyroidism, and 133 had hyperthyroidism.

Researchers reported an increased risk for being diagnosed with dementia in patients aged 65 years and older with a history of hypothyroidism (adjusted OR = 1.81; 95% CI, 1.14-2.87). This association was not observed in patients older than 50 years but younger than 65 years.

In addition, researchers noted there was a threefold increase in dementia risk among patients aged 65 years and older who received hypothyroidism medication (aOR = 3.17; 95% CI, 1.04-9.69).

Weng and colleagues found no association between hyperthyroidism and dementia.

“While more studies are needed to confirm these findings, people should be aware of thyroid problems as a possible risk factor for dementia and therapies that could prevent or slow irreversible cognitive decline,” Weng said.


American Academy of Neurology. Thyroid problems linked to increased risk of dementia. Published July 6, 2022. Accessed July 6, 2022.

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