Journal scan

Autoimmune disease could be linked to increased risk of dementia

Autoimmune disease could be linked to a heightened risk of dementia, say researchers from the University of Oxford. 

Autoimmune disease could be linked to a heightened risk of dementia, say researchers from the University of Oxford. 


Of the 25 autoimmune diseases identified in the study, 18 were significantly
associated with dementia. Picture: iStock

Drawing on hospital admissions data from 1998-2012 in England, the researchers looked at whether admission to hospital with one of 25 autoimmune diseases – including coeliac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS) – was associated with an increased risk of subsequent admission to hospital with dementia. 

During the study period, more than 1.8 million people were admitted with an autoimmune disease. The researchers found that compared to people admitted to hospital for other causes, those admitted with an autoimmune disorder were 20% more likely to subsequently be admitted with dementia. 

Higher risk

Of the 25 autoimmune diseases, 18 were significantly associated with dementia, including Addison's disease, which had a 48% increased risk, MS which had almost double the risk, and psoriasis which had a 29% increased risk. 

The study also showed the risk was 6% higher for Alzheimer's disease and 28% higher for vascular dementia. 


Wotton C et al (2017) Associations between specific autoimmune diseases and subsequent dementia: retrospective record-linkage cohort study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. doi:10.1136/jech-2016-207809

This article is for subscribers only

Jobs