A systematic review quantified the risk of future dementia associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and found it to be strong, according to data published in The British Journal of Psychiatry.
Researchers used data from 13 longitudinal studies on PTSD and risk of dementia and used random- and fixed-effects meta-analyses to pool estimates across studies. The majority of studies included were retrospective with evidence of high heterogeneity.
PTSD was associated with a significant risk for all-cause dementia. In veterans, the pooled hazard ratio was 1.61 (95% CI 1.46–1.78; I2= 80.9%, P < 0.001; n = 905 896; 5 studies) compared to 2.11 (95% CI 1.03–4.33, I2= 91.2%, P < 0.001; n = 787 782; 3 studies) in the general population.
Even after excluding studies with high risk of bias, the association between PTSD and dementia remained significant (HR = 1.55, 95% CI 1.39–1.73, I2= 83.9%, P < 0.001; n = 1 684 928; 7 studies).
The authors concluded that PTSD is a “potentially modifiable risk factor for all-cause dementia.”
Gunak MM, Billings J, Carratu E, et al. Post-traumatic stress disorder as a risk factor for dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Psychiatry. 2020; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2020.150