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J Neurol. 1998 Jan;245(1):32-9.

The Dutch Vascular Factors in Dementia Study: rationale and design.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical School, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Dementia is a rapidly increasing health problem in the industrialized countries. With the ageing of the population the number of demented persons increases both in relative and absolute terms. Obviously, there is a need for prevention and intervention strategies. We describe the methods and baseline findings of a large study aimed at identifying potentially modifiable vascular, thrombogenic, and metabolic determinants of dementia. The study population consists of subjects 55 years of age or older. Since the vascular wall of the cerebral vessels is different from that of the coronary or peripheral vessels, we formed three subgroups in which vascular risk factors for dementia are studied. Subjects with stroke were distinguished from subjects with coronary or peripheral artery disease, and from subjects without stroke or coronary or peripheral artery disease. To obtain a large enough number of subjects with stroke, cases and controls from a stroke registry were combined with cases and controls of a population-based study from the same region. For the diagnosis of dementia the DSM-III-R criteria were used. Extensive information on cardiovascular risk factors was collected, including indicators of atherosclerosis. Blood and urine were sampled to study platelet function and thrombogenic and metabolic factors. The study population consists of 7,466 subjects, of whom 300 were recruited from a hospital-based stroke registry. Coronary or peripheral artery disease was present in 956 subjects and stroke in 617. Dementia was present in 434 (5.8%) of all subjects. The prevalence of dementia was 3.0, 24.0, and 4.4% in subjects with a history of coronary or peripheral artery disease, a history of stroke, and subjects without a history of coronary or peripheral artery disease or stroke, respectively. The study will allow us to investigate the role of vascular factors in dementia, irrespective of its cause.

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