A large study has found further evidence that anemia — a deficiency of red blood cells and a common condition in the elderly — increases the risk for dementia.
Researchers prospectively followed 2,552 mentally healthy men and women, average age 76, for 11 years, recording their red blood cell count and administering tests of mental functioning at regular intervals. At the start, 392 in the group were anemic, and by the end 455 had developed dementia. The study was published online in the journal Neurology.
After adjusting for age, sex, education, depression, diabetes and more than a dozen other variables, they found that those who were anemic at the start of the study had a 49 percent increased risk for dementia compared with those with normal blood counts.