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Vitamin D deficiency leads to dementia

Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. However, the latest research suggests that there may be a link to Vitamin D deficiency.

The world-first study from the University of South Australia found:

  • Low levels of vitamin D were associated with lower brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia and stroke.
  • Genetic analyses supported a causal effect of vitamin D deficiency and dementia.
  • In some populations as much as 17 per cent of dementia cases might be prevented by increasing everyone to normal levels of vitamin D (50 nmol/L).

Dementia is a chronic or progressive syndrome that leads to deterioration in cognitive function. Globally, more than 55 million people have dementia with 10 million new cases diagnosed every year.

Supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the genetic study analysed data from 294,514 participants from the UK Biobank, examining the impact of low levels of vitamin D (25 nmol/L) and the risk of dementia and stroke. Nonlinear Mendelian randomisation (MR) – a method of using measured variation in genes to examine the causal effect of a modifiable exposure on disease – was used to test for underlying causality for neuroimaging outcomes, dementia, and stroke.

Senior investigator and Director of UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision HealthProfessor Elina Hyppönen, said the findings are important for the prevention of dementia and appreciating the need to abolish vitamin D deficiency.

“Vitamin D is a hormone precursor that is increasingly recognised for widespread effects, including on brain health, but until now it has been very difficult to examine what would happen if we were able to prevent vitamin D deficiency,” Prof Hyppönen commented.

“Our study is the first to examine the effect of very low levels of vitamin D on the risks of dementia and stroke, using robust genetic analyses among a large population.

“In some contexts, where vitamin D deficiency is relatively common, our findings have important implications for dementia risks. Indeed, in this UK population we observed that up to 17 per cent of dementia cases might have been avoided by boosting vitamin D levels to be within a normal range.”

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Upcoming Events

Infection Prevention & Control

National Conference Centre, Birmingham
23rd - 24th April 2024

ESGE Days 2024, Symposium – ‘Elevating Endoscopy: Inspiring Progress and Innovation’

Estrel Congress Center (room 15), Berlin, Germany
25th April 2024, 16:30 – 17:30 CEST

National DERS and SMART pump conference

BCEC, Birmingham
29th April 2024

World Hand Hygiene Day

Worldwide
5th May 2024

Theatres & Decontamination Conference 2024

Coventry Building Society Arena
16th May 2024

The AfPP Roadshow - Birmingham

Millennium Point, Birmingham
18th May 2024

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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