Reproductive History Influences Women's Dementia Risk
A woman's reproductive history influences her risk for dementia, new results from the first large-scale epidemiologic study to examine this issue show. The investigators, led by Paola Gilsanz, ScD, staff scientist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland, found correlations between a woman's dementia risk and the number of her children, as well as miscarriage, age at first menstrual period, age at natural menopause, and the number of years between first menstrual period and menopause.
@tithi Using the Kaiser Permanente database, the researchers evaluated data for 14,595 women (68% white) who were between 40 and 55 years of age in 1964 to 1973. They had detailed information on the women's reproductive history as well as dementia diagnoses and late-life health events from medical records reviewed from 1996 to 2017. Thirty-six percent of the women developed dementia during this follow-up period. Women with three or more children (50%) had a 12% lower risk of developing dementia compared to women with only one child (hazard ratio [HR], 0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81 - 0.95). The results held up after accounting for additional mid- and late-life risk factors, such as body mass index and stroke history. Three-quarters of the women had had at least one miscarriage. Women who had not had a miscarriage were at 20% lower risk for dementia compared to women who had, after accounting for possible differences in race, age, education, hysterectomies, and mid- and late-life health conditions (HR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.73 - 0.89).