Uric acid and incident dementia over 12 years of follow-up: a population-based cohort study

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Abstract

Objectives

In patients with gout, maintaining too low serum uric acid (SUA) level with urate-lowering therapy is a concern because uric acid is thought to be neuroprotective. However, the relation between SUA and dementia remains debated. This study aimed to investigate the impact of SUA level on the incidence of dementia.

Methods

We assessed the longitudinal association between SUA level and incident dementia (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Version IV (DSM-IV) criteria) in a large cohort of healthy older people from the community (Three-City Dijon cohort). Additionally, we investigated the relation between SUA level and MRI markers of brain ageing (white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHV), lacunes and hippocampal volume).

Results

The study sample comprised 1598 people (mean (SD) age 72.4(4.1) years, 38.3% male). During the 13,357 person-years of follow-up (median duration: 10.1 years), dementia developed in 110 participants (crude incidence rate: 8.2/1000 person-years). After multiple adjustments, the multivariate HR with the highest (≥75th percentile) versus lowest SUA level was 1.79 (95% CI 1.17 to 2.73; p=0.007). The association was stronger with vascular or mixed dementia (HR=3.66 (95% CI 1.29 to 10.41), p=0.015) than Alzheimer’s disease (HR=1.55 (95% CI 0.92 to 2.61), p=0.10). There was a non-significant trend towards an association between high SUA level and extensive WMHV (p=0.10), a biomarker of small vessel disease, but not hippocampal volume (p=0.94) or lacunes (p=0.86). The association between SUA level and vascular or mixed dementia might be affected by interim strokes.

Conclusions

Risk of dementia, especially vascular or mixed dementia, may be increased with high SUA levels in elderly people.

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