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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Kentucky: No Association Found Between Smoking and Dementia via Competing Risk Analysis

A recent study from the University of Kentucky has demonstrated that smoking is not associated with a higher risk of dementia. The paper “Tobacco Smoking and Dementia in a Kentucky Cohort: A Competing Risk Analysis” appears in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Many previous studies have found a correlation between smoking and dementia.  However, Dr. Erin Abner of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) and colleagues wanted to explore outcomes using a different method of data analysis.

“The underlying data (in those studies) was solid, but the analysis didn’t take into account the idea of competing risk of mortality, which we felt was an important factor to consider in this case since smoking is so strongly associated with earlier death,” Dr. Abner said.

Dr. Abner et al., examined longitudinal data from 531 initially cognitively-normal people who were part of the SBCoA BRAiNS study, which has followed hundreds of volunteers an average of more than 11 years to explore the effects of aging on cognition. They used competing risk analysis to determine whether there was a connection between smoking and dementia once the competing risk of death was included.

The data demonstrated that smoking was associated with a risk of earlier death — but not for dementia. Interestingly, said Dr. Abner, their conclusions support several earlier neuropathological studies, which did not find that Alzheimer’s disease (AD)  pathology was more prevalent in smokers.

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