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Social connections and risk of incident mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and mortality in 13 longitudinal cohort studies of ageing

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posted on 2023-11-21, 23:02 authored by G Mahalingam, S Samtani, Chun LamChun Lam, DM Lipnicki, MF Lima-Costa, SL Blay, E Castro-Costa, X Shifu, M Guerchet, PM Preux, A Gbessemehlan, I Skoog, J Najar, TR Sterner, N Scarmeas, M Yannakoulia, T Dardiotis, KW Kim, S Riedel-Heller, S Röhr, A Pabst, S Shahar, K Numbers, M Ganguli, TF Hughes, CCH Chang, M Crowe, TP Ng, X Gwee, DQL Chua, J Rymaszewska, K Wolf-Ostermann, AK Welmer, J Stafford, R Mélis, M Vernooij-Dassen, YH Jeon, PS Sachdev, H Brodaty

Introduction: Previous meta-analyses have linked social connections and mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and mortality. However, these used aggregate data from North America and Europe and examined a limited number of social connection markers. Methods: We used individual participant data (N = 39271, Mage = 70.67 (40-102), 58.86% female, Meducation = 8.43 years, Mfollow-up = 3.22 years) from 13 longitudinal ageing studies. A two-stage meta-analysis of Cox regression models examined the association between social connection markers with our primary outcomes. Results: We found associations between good social connections structure and quality and lower risk of incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI); between social structure and function and lower risk of incident dementia and mortality. Only in Asian cohorts, being married/in a relationship was associated with reduced risk of dementia, and having a confidante was associated with reduced risk of dementia and mortality. Discussion: Different aspects of social connections – structure, function, and quality – are associated with benefits for healthy aging internationally.


This work was supported by the JPND project Social health and reserve in the dementia patient journey (SHARED). In Australia, the project is funded by the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council; Grant number APP1169489) and awarded by the JPND. In Sweden, the project is funded by The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare (FORTE grant no.: 2018-01888). Funding for COSMIC comes from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number 1RF1AG057531-01. The EPIDEMCA study was funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR-09-MNPS-009-01), the AXA Research Fund (grant 2012 – Project Public Health Institute (Inserm) – PREUX Pierre-Marie) and the Limoges University Hospital through its APREL scheme. The Bambui Cohort Study of Ageing was funded by Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos (FINEP), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológicos (CNPq), and Fundação de Amparo Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG). HELIAD cohort funding from Alzheimer's Association, European Social Fund, and Greek Ministry of Health. LEILA75+ funding: the Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research at the University of Leipzig (Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Klinische Forschung/IZKF; grant 01KS9504). LRGS TUA was funded by Long-Term Research Grant Scheme (LRGS), the Ministry of Higher Education (LRGS/BU/2012/UKM-UKM/K/01). MAS was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC; grant numbers APP350833, APP568969, and APP1093083) in Australia. Funding for MYHAT grant R37AG023651 made by NIA to the University of Pittsburgh.


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Alzheimer's and Dementia






15p. (p. 5114-5128)





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© 2023 The Authors. Alzheimer’s & Dementia published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Alzheimer’s Association. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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