Intercourse variations in dementia danger and danger components: an IPD meta-analysis

Dementia is predicted to have an effect on an anticipated 150 million individuals globally by 2050 (Nichols et al, 2019). The Lancet Fee on dementia prevention has beforehand calculated that as much as 40% of circumstances of dementia could also be prevented or delayed by means of 12 probably modifiable danger components (Livingston et al, 2020). Within the absence of available disease-modifying remedies for dementia, understanding these danger components is important to sort out this public well being problem and to information the perfect preventive practices.

Earlier work has steered that ladies could also be at elevated danger of dementia, however this proof is conflicting and has largely been carried out in Excessive-Revenue International locations (HICs) (Nebel et al, 2018). At present, 60% of individuals with dementia reside in low-and-middle revenue international locations (LMICs) and that is anticipated to extend to 80% by 2050 (Prince et al, 2007), however the affiliation between intercourse and dementia danger in these settings shouldn’t be effectively understood. As well as, many research of doubtless modifiable dementia danger components regulate for intercourse as a covariate, which means we don’t know whether or not their impact varies based on intercourse. This has potential implications for focusing on dementia prevention efforts.

On this examine (Gong et al, 2023), the authors used an individual-patient knowledge meta-analysis of a various, international inhabitants throughout 21 cohorts to ask:

  1. Is there’s a intercourse distinction within the general danger of all-cause dementia?
  2. Does intercourse affect the influence of danger components for dementia?
Gong et al. conducted an individual participant data meta-analysis to explore whether there is a sex difference in the overall risk of all-cause dementia, and whether sex influences the impact of risk factors for dementia.

Gong et al. performed a person participant knowledge meta-analysis to discover whether or not there’s a intercourse distinction within the general danger of all-cause dementia, and whether or not intercourse influences the influence of danger components for dementia.


Globally, population-based ageing cohorts range considerably of their strategies and strategies. This makes it tough to precisely examine throughout research or establish true variations. To deal with this, the Cohort Research of Reminiscence in an Worldwide Consortium (COSMIC) collaboration synchronises worldwide cohort research of cognitive ageing with the purpose to spice up their comparability and statistical energy (Sachdev et al, 2013).

This was a person participant knowledge meta-analysis. On this examine, Gong et al (2022) pooled and re-analysed particular person participant knowledge from the 21 cohorts of the COSMIC collaboration to know sex-differences in dementia danger and charge. They calculated:

  • Hazard Ratios for intercourse as a danger issue for all-cause dementia in every included examine (Cox proportional hazards regression, age- and education-adjusted) and a pooled estimate throughout all research (Cox proportional hazards blended impact mannequin, Gaussian random results to account for examine variability).
  • Pooled sex-specific Hazard Ratio’s for every Lancet Fee 2020 danger issue and the chance of all-cause dementia (mixed-effect Cox regression fashions accounting for the examine as a random impact, age- and education-adjusted). An interplay time period was then fitted for every danger issue and intercourse to calculate women-to-men ratios of hazard ratios (RHRs).
  • Intercourse-specific age-adjusted dementia incidence charges per 1,000 person-years (Poisson regression).
  • Subgroup analyses for whether or not intercourse variations different by prespecified subgroups: age (≥ or < 80 years), training (≥ or < 9 years), start cohorts (born earlier than 1925, 1925-1934, 1935 and after), country-level revenue, area, and Apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype. Sure APOE genotypes are identified to extend the chance of dementia.
  • Intercourse-specific dementia-free survival chance (Kaplan-Meier survival curve).
This study analysed data from the Cohort Studies of Memory in an International Consortium (COSMIC) collaboration, which synchronises international cohort studies of cognitive ageing with the aim to boost their comparability and statistical power

This examine analysed knowledge from the Cohort Research of Reminiscence in an Worldwide Consortium (COSMIC) collaboration, which synchronises worldwide cohort research of cognitive ageing with the purpose to spice up their comparability and statistical energy.


Of 29,850 eligible contributors from 21 research throughout 18 international locations, 2,089 developed all-cause dementia (66% girls) over a median of 4.6 years of comply with up (vary 0.01 to 19.6 years). The most important cohorts had been from Spain (n= 3,237) and China (n= 2,097). The smallest cohorts had been from the Netherlands (n= 519) and Sweden (n= 732). 64% of analysed contributors had been from HICs, 29.3% from upper-middle-income international locations, and 6.6% from low-income international locations.

Intercourse variations for all-cause dementia:

  • The age-adjusted incidence charge of dementia was increased in girls (16.4 per 1,000 person-years, 95% CI 15.2 to 17.6) than in males (12.3 per 1,000 person-years, 95% CI 11.1 to 13.5).
  • The pooled age- and education-adjusted danger of all-cause dementia was increased in girl than males (HR 1.12, 1.01 to 1.23). The sample different throughout particular person cohorts: 14/21 research reported danger to be increased in girls, 7/14 research reported the alternative affiliation, and for a lot of, the 95% CI crossed the road of no impact.
  • Nonetheless, in sensitivity evaluation, if solely cohorts utilizing a Diagnostic and Statistical Handbook of psychological issues (DSM) based mostly dementia definition had been included (15/21 research), the age- and education-adjusted intercourse distinction in dementia danger was not important.
  • Survival chance for all-cause dementia was increased for males than girls (log-rank p worth <0.0001).

Subgroup evaluation:

  • Persistently, the age-adjusted incidence charges for dementia had been increased in girls than males throughout all classes of the subgroups thought-about.
  • Apparently, when stratified by country-level revenue, incidence charges had been highest amongst girls from low to lower-middle revenue international locations, however related throughout country-level incomes for males.
  • The higher danger in girls was most pronounced in low to lower-middle revenue international locations (HR 1.73, 1.25 to 2.39).
  • By area, the higher danger in girls was present in different international locations (South America and Africa) (HR 1.65 1.29 to 2.11), however not Western (HR 1.05, 0.93 to 1.19) or Asian (HR 1.10, 0.86 to 1.40) international locations.

Intercourse variations in danger issue associations:

  • In males, decrease BMI was related to decrease danger of dementia (HR 0.88, 0.83 to 0.93) and better LDL ldl cholesterol was related to increased danger of dementia (HR 1.07, 1.02 to 1.13), however these associations weren’t replicated in girls.
  • Amongst all danger components thought-about, intercourse variations had been solely clear for former alcohol use, with the connection being stronger in males than girls (girls to males RHR 0.55, 0.38 to 0.79). A much less robust intercourse distinction was discovered for years spent in training, with a stronger protecting impact for ladies (women-to-men RHR 1.01, 1.00 to 1.03).
  • There was a pattern in the direction of a stronger affiliation between APOE e4 carriage and dementia in males than in girls, however the women-to-men RHR included the no impact worth (0.88, 0.72 to 1.07). APOE e4 carriage is a danger issue for Alzheimer’s illness.


The authors conclude:

A higher danger of dementia for ladies was noticed, contributing to accruing proof for intercourse variations in dementia danger.

They discovered nearly no proof of intercourse variations for many danger components for dementia and that the surplus dementia danger in girls was extra pronounced in poorer international locations. The authors counsel that their examine justifies ongoing efforts to help programmes to enhance intercourse and gender fairness in mind well being all through the life course.

Gong et al. observed a greater risk of dementia for women, contributing to accruing evidence for sex differences in dementia risk. They found almost no evidence of sex differences for most risk factors for dementia and that the excess dementia risk in women was more pronounced in poorer countries.

Gong et al. noticed a higher danger of dementia for ladies, contributing to accruing proof for intercourse variations in dementia danger. They discovered nearly no proof of intercourse variations for many danger components for dementia and that the surplus dementia danger in girls was extra pronounced in poorer international locations.

Strengths and limitations

A serious energy of this examine is its geographic and ethnic range, with knowledge from 21 cohorts throughout six continents. This could enhance the worldwide representativeness of the examine’s outcomes and contains contributors which have historically been excluded from dementia analysis. The examine was additionally giant, together with a complete of 29,850 contributors, permitting improved precision of estimates. Authors had been in a position to harmonise a number of danger components throughout cohorts.

Nonetheless, the breadth of accessible knowledge was additionally a limitation of the examine. Protocols, inhabitants traits, and timing of research different throughout cohorts. Specifically, the authors level out the variability in dementia definition and measurement instruments used. When authors carried out a sensitivity evaluation analyzing solely cohorts utilizing the DSM definitions, there was no proof of a distinction in danger of dementia by intercourse.

Variability was additionally a limitation for harmonisation of danger components. For instance, a scientific analysis of melancholy shouldn’t be corresponding to self-reported depressive signs. A number of cohorts didn’t include knowledge in any respect for particular danger components, reminiscent of listening to loss. As well as, on account of harmonisation many variables misplaced nuance.

Impact estimates for intercourse and dementia danger different extensively by cohort, even when these had been in the identical nation, reminiscent of two Brazilian cohorts that discovered reverse outcomes (HR 1.51 and 0.54). In keeping with Cochrane, a pooled impact estimate won’t be informative when there may be excessive variability and “inconsistency within the route of impact” (Deeks and Altman, 2023). The authors might have explicitly examined for variations between cohorts utilizing meta-regression to discover this inconsistency.

Although one of many main strengths of the examine was using a worldwide inhabitants, solely two included cohorts and 6.6% of the full included inhabitants got here from low-income international locations. Most of the cohorts had excessive loss to follow-up, although this didn’t seem to vary between women and men, aside from within the Gothenburg examine. Loss to comply with up was highest amongst individuals born earlier than 1925 and other people in low-income cohorts.

The authors had been in a position to discover country-level financial knowledge however these had been sadly not out there on the participant stage. Ideally, analyses would have adjusted for socioeconomic components on the particular person stage and in contrast these between women and men, as it is a potential vital confounder of the affiliation between intercourse and dementia.

Data harmonisation across datasets is a challenge for many individual participant data meta-analyses, with important variables losing valuable nuance.

Information harmonisation throughout datasets is a problem for a lot of particular person participant knowledge meta-analyses, with vital variables shedding invaluable nuance.


This is a vital examine that contributes to the evidence-base for a better incidence charge of dementia amongst girls in comparison with males, and a pooled increased danger of dementia amongst girls. Different analysis has attributed elevated ranges of dementia amongst post-menopausal girls to a possible detrimental neurological impact of lack of oestrogens (Rahman et al, 2020), whereas androgens are presupposed to have neuroprotective results (Cai et al, 2020). Nonetheless, the inconsistency of impact estimates seen by Gong et al. (2022) throughout cohorts means that, if a distinction in dementia danger between women and men really exists, this is probably not totally defined by hormonal or organic components.

This examine is especially invaluable because it contains knowledge from a big globally consultant consortium of research (COSMIC), at a time when proof on dementia from LMICs is sorely missing. The authors discovered that the upper danger of dementia amongst girls was strongest in LMICs. Nonetheless, the low proportion of contributors from low-income international locations on this examine reinforces the low quantity of accessible knowledge in these settings. Information from England has proven that social drawback and adversity are danger components for dementia no matter intercourse. Gong et al. (2022) argue that socioeconomic and gender-related danger components could be extra pronounced amongst girls than males in LMICs, main for instance, to differential entry to training and occupational attainment, which could in flip modulate dementia danger.

The authors report impact modification by intercourse for former alcohol use and longer training. Nonetheless, the 95% confidence interval of the RHR for training contained the null (1.00 to 1.03), suggesting there isn’t any proof of an affiliation. As well as, the prevalence of former alcohol use was possible low as the arrogance intervals for these estimates had been extensive, decreasing our certainty on this outcome. The Lancet Fee cites extreme alcohol use as a danger issue for dementia however Gong et al (2022) weren’t in a position to categorise alcohol use into gentle, reasonable, or extreme consumption. Sadly, like many different danger components examined on this COSMIC inhabitants, the out there knowledge when harmonised didn’t permit for exploration of nuances reminiscent of quantity of alcohol consumed.

General, the authors discovered a pooled increased danger of dementia amongst girls, although outcomes had been inconsistent. It was not doable to elucidate the upper danger of dementia in girls by means of totally different results of danger components by intercourse. Nonetheless, the frequency of those danger components varies by intercourse and a useful subsequent step could be to calculate the inhabitants attributable fraction (PAF) individually for men and women to assist information focused public well being initiatives. The authors conclude that efforts to extend well being fairness for ladies will assist cut back dementia circumstances. Additional work to disambiguate variations in cohorts and potential causes for inconsistencies in associations is required. As well as, this examine reinforces the necessity to set up analysis cohorts and registries in LMICs to raised perceive dementia in these settings.

Gong et al. (2022) argue that socioeconomic and gender-related risk factors might be more pronounced among women than men in low-middle income countries, leading for example, to differential access to education and occupational attainment, which might in turn modulate dementia risk.

Gong et al. (2022) argue that socioeconomic and gender-related danger components could be extra pronounced amongst girls than males in low-middle revenue international locations, main for instance, to differential entry to training and occupational attainment, which could in flip modulate dementia danger.


Major paper

Gong J, Harris Ok, Lipnicki DM, et al. (2023) Intercourse variations in dementia danger and danger components: Particular person-participant knowledge evaluation utilizing 21 cohorts throughout six continents from the COSMIC consortium. Alzheimer’s Dement. 2023; 19: 33653378.

Different references

  1. Nichols E, Steinmetz JD, Vollset SE, et al. Estimation of the worldwide prevalence of dementia in 2019 and forecasted prevalence in 2050: an evaluation for the International Burden of Illness Research 2019. The Lancet Public Well being 2022; 7(2): e105-e25.
  2. Livingston G, Huntley J, Sommerlad A, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Fee. Lancet 2020; 396(10248): 413-46.
  3. Nebel RA, Aggarwal NT, Barnes LL, et al. Understanding the influence of intercourse and gender in Alzheimer’s illness: A name to motion. Alzheimers Dement 2018; 14(9): 1171-83.
  4. Prince M, Ferri CP, Acosta D, et al. The protocols for the ten/66 dementia analysis group population-based analysis programme. BMC Public Well being 2007; 7: 165.
  5. Sachdev PS, Lipnicki DM, Kochan NA, et al. COSMIC (Cohort Research of Reminiscence in an Worldwide Consortium): A global consortium to establish danger and protecting components and biomarkers of cognitive ageing and dementia in numerous ethnic and sociocultural teams. BMC Neurology 2013; 13(1): 165.
  6. Deeks JJ HJ, Altman DG Chapter 10: Analysing knowledge and enterprise meta-analyses. In: Higgins JPT TJ, Chandler J, Cumpston M, Li T, Web page MJ, Welch VA ed. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Opinions of Interventions model 64 (up to date August 2023): Cochrane; 2023.
  7. Rahman A, Schelbaum E, Hoffman Ok, et al. Intercourse-driven modifiers of Alzheimer danger. A multimodality mind imaging examine 2020; 95(2): e166-e78.
  8. Cai Z, Li H. An Up to date Assessment: Androgens and Cognitive Impairment in Older Males. Entrance Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2020; 11: 586909.

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