Recent evidence indicates that dementia rates have decreased in the last few decades in the United Kingdom and other parts of Western Europe, with the greatest declines apparent in those with higher educational attainment relative to more basic educational attainment.
However, less clear is the extent to which other socioeconomic markers such as wealth, income, and area deprivation contribute to dementia risk. ELSA data were used to investigate the associations between markers of socioeconomic status (wealth quintiles and the index of multiple deprivation) and dementia incidence. To investigate outcomes associated with age cohorts, two independent groups were derived using a median split (born between 1902-1925 and 1926-1943).
The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, is the first of its kind to determine which socioeconomic factors influence dementia and found that limited wealth in late life is associated with increased risk of dementia, independent of education.
Cadar, Lassale et al. JAMA Psychiatry 2018; 75:723-732