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Stroke. 2000 Jul;31(7):1487-93.

Vascular dementia : incidence and risk factors in the Canadian study of health and aging.

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Sherbrooke Geriatric University Institute, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.



Very few population-based studies have systematically examined incident vascular dementia (VaD). From the Canadian Study of Health and Aging cohort, incidence rates of VaD were determined and risk factors analyzed.


This was a cohort incidence study that followed 8623 subjects presumed to be free of dementia over a 5-year period. The risk factors were examined with a nested prospective case-control study. Exposure was determined by means of a risk factor questionnaire administered to the subject or a proxy at the beginning of the study.


On the basis of 38 476 person-years at risk, the annual incidence rate was estimated to be 2.52 per thousand undemented Canadians (95% CI 2. 02 to 3.02). Including an estimation of the probability of VaD among the decedents, this figure rose to 3.79. For the risk factors study, 105 incident cases of VaD according to the NINCDS-AIREN criteria were compared with 802 control subjects. Significant risk factors were: age (OR=1.05), residing in a rural area (2.03), living in an institution (2.33), diabetes (2.15), depression (2.41), apolipoprotein E epsilon4 (2.34), hypertension for women (2.05), heart problems for men (2.52), taking aspirin (2.33), and occupational exposure to pesticides or fertilizers (2.05). Protective factors were eating shellfish (0.46) and regular exercise for women (0.46). There was no relation with sex, education, or alcohol.


The study confirmed some previously reported risk factors but also suggested new ones. It raised concerns about the prescription of aspirin and perhaps other factors related to rural life.

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