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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 Jul;55(7):1095-8.

Exercise: a potential contributing factor to the relationship between folate and dementia.

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Division of Geriatric Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.



To investigate whether exercise confounds the relationship between folate and cerebrovascular events, all-cause dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.


Prospective cohort study.


Multiple centers in Canada.


In the Canadian Study of Health and Aging, 466 people reported exercise levels, had folate measurements, and were not demented at baseline. After 5 years, 194 had adverse cerebrovascular events, and 65 had dementia (Alzheimer's disease in 47).


Associations between folate and cerebrovascular outcomes were examined using logistic regression in the presence and absence of exercise and other confounders.


Folate was associated with greater risk of Alzheimer's disease (odds ratio (OR)=2.12, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.01-4.54) and cerebrovascular outcomes (OR=2.05, 95% CI=1.11-3.78) in adjusted analyses before the inclusion of exercise and neared significance with all-cause dementia (OR=1.80, 95% CI=0.94-3.45). After the inclusion of exercise, the association between folate and dementia and Alzheimer's disease was 29% and 25% lower, respectively, and neither association was any longer significant (Alzheimer's disease: OR=1.91, 95% CI=0.89-4.11; all-cause dementia: OR=1.62, 95% CI=0.84-3.15). Exercise was a significant confounder in the relationship between folate and Alzheimer's disease (P=.03) and dementia (P=.003) but not cerebrovascular outcomes (P=.64). Unlike folate, exercise was significantly associated with Alzheimer's disease (OR=0.43, 95% CI=0.19-0.98) and dementia (OR=0.35, 95% CI=0.17-0.72) in adjusted analyses.


Exercise seems to account for much of the relationship between folate and incident dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

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