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Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine whether low vitamin D concentrations are associated with an increased risk of incident all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease.

Methods:

One thousand six hundred fifty-eight elderly ambulatory adults free from dementia, cardiovascular disease, and stroke who participated in the US population–based Cardiovascular Health Study between 1992–1993 and 1999 were included. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry from blood samples collected in 1992–1993. Incident all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease status were assessed during follow-up using National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke/Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association criteria.

Results:

During a mean follow-up of 5.6 years, 171 participants developed all-cause dementia, including 102 cases of Alzheimer disease. Using Cox proportional hazards models, the multivariate adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence interval [CI]) for incident all-cause dementia in participants who were severely 25(OH)D deficient (<25 nmol/L) and deficient (≥25 to <50 nmol/L) were 2.25 (95% CI: 1.23–4.13) and 1.53 (95% CI: 1.06–2.21) compared to participants with sufficient concentrations (≥50 nmol/L). The multivariate adjusted hazard ratios for incident Alzheimer disease in participants who were severely 25(OH)D deficient and deficient compared to participants with sufficient concentrations were 2.22 (95% CI: 1.02–4.83) and 1.69 (95% CI: 1.06–2.69). In multivariate adjusted penalized smoothing spline plots, the risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease markedly increased below a threshold of 50 nmol/L.

Conclusion:

Our results confirm that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease. This adds to the ongoing debate about the role of vitamin D in nonskeletal conditions.

Most cited references27

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Is Open Access

2013 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures.

(2013)
This report provides information to increase understanding of the public health impact of Alzheimer's disease (AD), including incidence and prevalence, mortality rates, health expenditures and costs of care, and effect on caregivers and society in general. It also explores the roles and unique challenges of long-distance caregivers, as well as interventions that target those challenges. An estimated 5.2 million Americans have AD. Approximately 200,000 people younger than 65 years with AD comprise the younger onset AD population; 5 million comprise the older onset AD population. Throughout the coming decades, the baby boom generation is projected to add about 10 million to the total number of people in the United States with AD. Today, someone in America develops AD every 68 seconds. By 2050, one new case of AD is expected to develop every 33 seconds, or nearly a million new cases per year, and the total estimated prevalence is expected to be 13.8 million. AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth leading cause of death in Americans age 65 years or older. Between 2000 and 2010, the proportion of deaths resulting from heart disease, stroke, and prostate cancer decreased 16%, 23%, and 8%, respectively, whereas the proportion resulting from AD increased 68%. The number of deaths from AD as determined by official death certificates (83,494 in 2010) likely underrepresents the number of AD-related deaths in the United States. A projected 450,000 older Americans with AD will die in 2013, and a large proportion will die as a result of complications of AD. In 2012, more than 15 million family members and other unpaid caregivers provided an estimated 17.5 billion hours of care to people with AD and other dementias, a contribution valued at more than $216 billion. Medicare payments for services to beneficiaries age 65 years and older with AD and other dementias are three times as great as payments for beneficiaries without these conditions, and Medicaid payments are 19 times as great. Total payments in 2013 for health care, long-term care, and hospice services for people age 65 years and older with dementia are expected to be$203 billion (not including the contributions of unpaid caregivers). An estimated 2.3 million caregivers of people with AD and other dementias live at least 1 hour away from the care recipient. These "long-distance caregivers" face unique challenges, including difficulty in assessing the care recipient's true health condition and needs, high rates of family disagreement regarding caregiving decisions, and high out-of-pocket expenses for costs related to caregiving. Out-of-pocket costs for long-distance caregivers are almost twice as high as for local caregivers. Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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Distribution of the vitamin D receptor and 1 alpha-hydroxylase in human brain.

(2004)
Despite a growing body of evidence that Vitamin D is involved in mammalian brain functioning, there has been a lack of direct evidence about its role in the human brain. This paper reports, for the first time, the distribution of the 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 receptor (VDR), and 1alpha-hydroxylase (1alpha-OHase), the enzyme responsible for the formation of the active vitamin in the human brain. The receptor and the enzyme were found in both neurons and glial cells in a regional and layer-specific pattern. The VDR was restricted to the nucleus whilst 1alpha-OHase was distributed throughout the cytoplasm. The distribution of the VDR in human brain was strikingly similar to that reported in rodents. Many regions contained equivalent amounts of both the VDR and 1alpha-OHase, however the macrocellular cells within the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM) and the Purkinje cells in the cerebellum expressed 1alpha-OHase in the absence of VDR. The strongest immunohistochemical staining for both the receptor and enzyme was in the hypothalamus and in the large (presumably dopaminergic) neurons within the substantia nigra. The observed distribution of the VDR is consistent with the proposal that Vitamin D operates in a similar fashion to the known neurosteroids. The widespread distribution of 1alpha-OHase and the VDR suggests that Vitamin D may have autocrine/paracrine properties in the human brain.
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The Cardiovascular Health Study: design and rationale.

(1991)
The Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) is a population-based, longitudinal study of coronary heart disease and stroke in adults aged 65 years and older. The main objective of the study is to identify factors related to the onset and course of coronary heart disease and stroke. CHS is designed to determine the importance of conventional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in older adults, and to identify new risk factors in this age group, especially those that may be protective and modifiable. The study design called for enrollment of 1250 men and women in each of four communities: Forsyth County, North Carolina; Sacramento County, California; Washington County, Maryland; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eligible participants were sampled from Medicare eligibility lists in each area. Extensive physical and laboratory evaluations were performed at baseline to identify the presence and severity of CVD risk factors such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and glucose intolerance; subclinical disease such as carotid artery atherosclerosis, left ventricular enlargement, and transient ischemia; and clinically overt CVD. These examinations in CHS permit evaluation of CVD risk factors in older adults, particularly in groups previously under-represented in epidemiologic studies, such as women and the very old. The first of two examination cycles began in June 1989. A second comprehensive examination will be repeated three years later. Periodic interim contacts are scheduled to ascertain and verify the incidence of CVD events, the frequency of recurrent events, and the sequellae of CVD.
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Author and article information

Journal
Neurology
Neurology
neurology
neur
neurology
NEUROLOGY
Neurology
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (Hagerstown, MD )
0028-3878
1526-632X
2 September 2014
2 September 2014
: 83
: 10
: 920-928
Affiliations
From the University of Exeter Medical School (T.J.L., W.E.H., I.A.L., K.K., M.S., D.J.L.), Exeter, UK; Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics (C.A., O.B.), Angers University Hospital, Angers, France; Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (P.H.M.C.), Florida International University, Miami; Mailman School of Public Health (L.F.), Columbia University, New York; Kidney Research Institute, Division of Nephrology (B.R.K.), University of Washington, Seattle; Departments of Epidemiology (L.H.K.) and Neurology and Psychiatry (O.L.L.), University of Pittsburgh, PA; Division of General Medicine (K.M.L.), Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research, Ann Arbor, MI; and the Institute for Social Research and the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (K.M.L.), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Author notes
Correspondence to Dr. Llewellyn: david.llewellyn@ 123456exeter.ac.uk

Go to Neurology.org for full disclosures. Funding information and disclosures deemed relevant by the authors, if any, are provided at the end of the article. The Article Processing Charge was paid by The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) South West Peninsula.

[*]

These authors contributed equally to the manuscript.

Article
NEUROLOGY2014574723
10.1212/WNL.0000000000000755
4153851
25098535