Multiple heart-related conditions linked to triple dementia
Researchers examined health and genetic data from 203038 UK Biobank participants of European ancestry, aged 60 years or older without dementia at baseline assessment (2006–10) and followed up until March 31, 2021. The dementia risk associated with high cardiometabolic multimorbidity was three times greater than that associated with high genetic risk (hazard ratio [HR] 5·55, 95% CI 3·39–9·08, p<0·0001, and 1·68, 1·53–1·84, p<0·0001, respectively). Participants with both a high genetic risk and a cardiometabolic multimorbidity index of two or greater had an increased risk of developing dementia (HR 5·74, 95% CI 4·26–7·74, p<0·0001), compared with those with a low genetic risk and no cardiometabolic conditions. Crucially, we found no interaction between cardiometabolic multimorbidity and polygenic risk (p=0·18). Cardiometabolic multimorbidity was independently associated with more extensive, widespread brain structural changes including lower hippocampal volume (F2, 12110=10·70; p<0·0001) and total grey matter volume (F2, 12236=55·65; p<0·0001).

Cardiometabolic multimorbidity was independently associated with the risk of dementia and extensive brain imaging differences to a greater extent than was genetic risk. Targeting cardiometabolic multimorbidity might help to reduce the risk of dementia, regardless of genetic risk.