Current research shows that cognitive impairment and dementia are, to a significant degree, determined by the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.
A large-scale study conducted by Doctoral researcher Matthias Klee of the CRISP team (Cognitive Ageing from Educational Opportunities to Individual Risk Profiles), led by Prof. Dr. Anja Leist at the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences of the University of Luxembourg, concludes that people who experience high socioeconomic deprivation are significantly more likely to develop dementia compared to people of better socioeconomic status, regardless of genetic risk.
The study, made in collaboration with researchers from universities of Exeter and Oxford, examined data from 196,368 participants’ records in the UK Biobank whose genetic risk for developing dementia was assessed. The study was recently presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2022 in San Diego, US.
“Our findings point to the importance of the conditions in which people live, work and age for their risk of developing dementia, particularly those who are already genetically more vulnerable”, reported Doctoral researcher Matthias Klee at the AAIC 2022.
The evidence delivered by the researchers suggests that “interventions may be particularly effective when targeting people living in areas and households with fewer socioeconomic resources. This is intriguing because we can be hopeful that prevention efforts may be effective regardless of the underlying genetic predisposition of individuals. Generally, any effective policy that can reduce deprivation may yield positive effects.”
“I hope that these findings will foster research on mechanisms that lead from area-level socioeconomic deprivation to individual dementia risk, with the overarching goal of better understanding social determinants of healthconcluded Doctoral researcher Matthias Klee.. This knowledge opens new opportunities to reduce the number of people affected by dementia not only through public health interventions, but also by improving socioeconomic conditions through policymaking”,
Download the complete news release and the abstract of the study.