Association Between Age at Diabetes Onset and Subsequent Risk of Dementia

Claudio Barbiellini Amidei, Aurore Fayosse, Julien Dumurgier, Marcos D. Machado-Fragua, Adam G. Tabak, Thomas van Sloten, Mika Kivimaki, Aline Dugravot, Severine Sabia, Archana Singh-Manoux*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Key PointsQuestionWhat is the association between age at onset of type 2 diabetes and subsequent risk of dementia? FindingsIn this prospective cohort study of 10095 participants, younger age at onset of type 2 diabetes was significantly associated with higher risk for incident dementia; at age 70, the hazard ratio for every 5-year earlier age at type 2 diabetes onset was 1.24. MeaningYounger age at diabetes onset was associated with higher risk of subsequent dementia.

ImportanceTrends in type 2 diabetes show an increase in prevalence along with younger age of onset. While vascular complications of early-onset type 2 diabetes are known, the associations with dementia remains unclear. ObjectiveTo determine whether younger age at diabetes onset is more strongly associated with incidence of dementia. Design, Setting, and ParticipantsPopulation-based study in the UK, the Whitehall II prospective cohort study, established in 1985-1988, with clinical examinations in 1991-1993, 1997-1999, 2002-2004, 2007-2009, 2012-2013, and 2015-2016, and linkage to electronic health records until March 2019. The date of final follow-up was March 31, 2019. ExposuresType 2 diabetes, defined as a fasting blood glucose level greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL at clinical examination, physician-diagnosed type 2 diabetes, use of diabetes medication, or hospital record of diabetes between 1985 and 2019. Main Outcomes and MeasuresIncident dementia ascertained through linkage to electronic health records. ResultsAmong 10095 participants (67.3% men; aged 35-55 years in 1985-1988), a total of 1710 cases of diabetes and 639 cases of dementia were recorded over a median follow-up of 31.7 years. Dementia rates per 1000 person-years were 8.9 in participants without diabetes at age 70 years, and rates were 10.0 per 1000 person-years for participants with diabetes onset up to 5 years earlier, 13.0 for 6 to 10 years earlier, and 18.3 for more than 10 years earlier. In multivariable-adjusted analyses, compared with participants without diabetes at age 70, the hazard ratio (HR) of dementia in participants with diabetes onset more than 10 years earlier was 2.12 (95% CI, 1.50-3.00), 1.49 (95% CI, 0.95-2.32) for diabetes onset 6 to 10 years earlier, and 1.11 (95% CI, 0.70-1.76) for diabetes onset 5 years earlier or less; linear trend test (P

This cohort study uses UK Whitehall cohort data to examine the association between age at type 2 diabetes onset and incident dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1640-1649
Number of pages10
JournalJAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2021




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