Slightly increased risk of dementia in elderly patients with atopic eczema

April 26, 2022

1 minute read


Disclosures: Magyari does not report any relevant financial information. Please see the study for relevant financial information from all other authors.

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According to one study, a slight increase in the incidence of dementia was found in elderly patients with atopic eczema.

“Chronic inflammation has emerged as an important predictor and mechanism involved in the onset and progression of neuropathological changes seen in dementia,” Alexa Magyari, MS, from the University of California, Berkley School of Public Health, and colleagues wrote. “Studies have found links between other chronic inflammatory diseases and dementia, but little is known about the role of atopic eczema, which is now recognized to affect a large proportion of older people.”

The researchers conducted a longitudinal cohort study of electronic health record data, which included patients between the ages of 60 and 100 who had no history of diagnosed dementia. A validated algorithm using medical codes and prescriptions was used to identify people with active atopic eczema. Previously validated medical codes were used to identify new dementia diagnoses during follow-up.

Over 1.7 million subjects were included, of whom 57,263 were diagnosed with dementia over 12,618,801 person-years of follow-up (incidence rate, 45/10,000 person-years). Atopic eczema was diagnosed in 213,444 (12%) of subjects diagnosed with dementia. Of these, the diagnostic criteria for atopic eczema before the start of follow-up were met by 94,926 subjects; 118,518 met criteria at follow-up.

Among people with atopic eczema, the incidence of dementia was 57/10,000 person-years (95% CI, 56-59), compared with 44/10,000 person-years (95% CI, 44 -45) in people without eczema.

A 27% overall increased risk of dementia was recorded in people with atopic eczema after adjusting for potential confounders.

“Patients with atopic eczema in a large population-based primary care cohort had a small increased risk of incident dementia,” the authors wrote. “Atopic eczema is common in the elderly, therefore, future work should investigate the impact of screening patients with atopic eczema for cognitive impairment in the elderly.”

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