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Abstract

Background and Objectives

Low bone mineral density (BMD) and dementia commonly co-occur in older individuals, with bone loss accelerating in patients with dementia due to physical inactivity and poor nutrition. However, uncertainty persists over the extent to which bone loss already exists before onset of dementia. Therefore, we investigated how dementia risk was affected by BMD at various skeletal regions in community-dwelling older adults.

Methods

In a prospective population-based cohort study, BMD at the femoral neck, lumbar spine, and total body and the trabecular bone score (TBS) were obtained using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in 3,651 participants free from dementia between 2002 and 2005. Persons at risk of dementia were followed up until January 1, 2020. For analyses of the association between BMD at baseline and the risk of incident dementia, we used Cox proportional hazards regression analyses, adjusting for age, sex, educational attainment, physical activity, smoking status, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol level, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, history of comorbidities (stroke and diabetes mellitus), and APOE genotype.

Results

Among the 3,651 participants (median age 72.3 ± 10.0 years, 57.9% women), 688 (18.8%) developed incident dementia during a median of 11.1 years, of whom 528 (76.7%) developed Alzheimer disease (AD). During the whole follow-up period, participants with lower BMD at the femoral neck (per SD decrease) were more likely to develop all-cause dementia (hazard ratio [HR] total follow-up 1.12, 95% CI 1.02–1.23) and AD (HRtotal follow-up 1.14, 95% CI 1.02–1.28). Within the first 10 years after baseline, the risk of dementia was greatest for groups with the lowest tertile of BMD (femoral neck BMD, HR0–10 years 2.03; 95% CI 1.39–2.96; total body BMD, HR0–10 years 1.42; 95% CI 1.01–2.02; and TBS, HR0–10 years 1.59; 95% CI 1.11–2.28).

Discussion

In conclusion, participants with low femoral neck and total body BMD and low TBS were more likely to develop dementia. Further studies should focus on the predictive ability of BMD for dementia.
More than 45 million people worldwide experience dementia, and this figure is estimated to double in the next 2 decades.1,2 The initial step in mapping the health journey of persons developing dementia and understanding how systemic changes contribute to the pathogenesis and clinical manifestation of dementia is crucial to the development of efficacious preventive strategies. Numerous chronic conditions, including cardiac disorders, diabetes, lung function impairment, and kidney disease,3,4 have been related to dementia. Several studies have also suggested a link between bone mineral density (BMD) and dementia or cognitive impairment,5,6 most likely explained by shared risk factors, such as old age, subclinical hyperthyroidism,7 sarcopenia,8 sex steroids,9 physical inactivity,8 and vitamin D deficiency.10 While it remains unclear whether bone health itself may be causally linked to dementia, it is an important predictor of fracture,11,12 which is an important source of morbidity in dementia and can lead to loss of independence.13 Therefore, temporally linking BMD to dementia can provide important insights into how comorbidities occur at the prodromal phase of dementia. This in turn can aid in preventive strategies aimed at optimizing the health and care of patients with dementia, including maintaining functional independence.
Previous studies focused solely on BMD, assessed through dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanning of clinically relevant skeletal sites, that is, femoral neck and lumbar spine.14 More recently, trabecular bone score (TBS) has been developed, which is a novel gray-level texture measurement connected to bone microarchitecture and other structural features.15,16 The TBS offers further details, such as bone microarchitecture, which are not possible to infer from the areal BMD.
In this study, we aimed to investigate the association between BMD, measured across multiple skeletal sites, and dementia risk in community-dwelling older adults.

Methods

Study Population

This study was performed within the Rotterdam Study (RS), a prospective ongoing cohort study that started in 1990, and all participants aged 45 years or older were invited for studying chronic diseases in the general population.17 The Rotterdam cohort comprises 1 original cohort (RS-I, initiated in 1990, with 7,983 participants aged 55 years or older) and other 2 cohorts (RS-II, starting from 2000, with 3,011 participants aged 55 years or older; and RS-III, starting from 2006, with 3,932 participants aged 45 years or older). Every 4–5 years, participants participated in consecutive follow-up home interviews and diverse physical tests at the medical research center. The study has been approved by the medical ethics committee of the Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and the review board of the Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (1068889-159521-PG). At baseline, between 2002 and 2005, participants of RS-I and RS-II underwent bone scans. A total of 3,651 persons with DXA scans and without prevalent dementia were finally included in this study (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Flowchart for Participants With Bone Mineral Density Scans Included in the Study

Measurements of BMD

BMD at the femoral neck, the lumbar spine, and the total body were measured using specific Prodigy DXA densitometer, as described elsewhere.18 A trained technician performed and verified all bone scans and made adjustments when necessary. A total of 3,651 participants had completed at least 1 scan of BMD, of whom 3,584 participants had data on BMD at the femoral neck, 3,608 at the lumbar spine, and 3,633 of the total body.

Measurement of TBS

TBS was calculated using the TBS iNsight software (Med-Imaps, Geneva, Switzerland).15 In brief, the TBS is a novel gray-level texture measurement,15,16 and a higher score indicates stronger and more fracture-resistant microarchitecture.19 For each region of measurement (the L2, L3, and L4 vertebrae),19 TBS was assessed using gray-level analysis of the DXA images, and the methodology of the TBS has been described elsewhere.16 TBS was available for 3,573 participants at baseline.

Dementia Assessment

The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the geriatric mental state schedule (GMS) were used for detecting dementia at baseline and subsequent visits.17 Further investigation and interview, including the Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly, were conducted on participants with an MMSE score <26 or GMS score >0. In addition, the study database was electronically linked to medical records from general practitioners and the regional institute for outpatient mental health care, allowing for the ongoing monitoring of incident dementia. When necessary, cognition tests and clinical neuroimaging were used to confirm dementia subtypes.17 An adjudication panel headed by a consultant neurologist established the final diagnosis in accordance with the accepted dementia diagnostic criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Third Edition-Revised) and Alzheimer disease (AD) (National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke-Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association). The follow-ups were stopped until meeting any of following scenarios, including incident dementia diagnosis, death, loss to follow-up, or January 1, 2020, whichever came first.

Covariables

Potential covariables were selected according to literature evidence, demonstrating an association with BMD, dementia, or both.18,20,21 Baseline covariables included age, sex, education level (primary education, lower education, intermediate education, higher education), smoking status (never, former, current), systolic blood pressure (mm Hg), diastolic blood pressure (mm Hg), total cholesterol level (mmol/L), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (mmol/L), triglycerides (mmol/L), body mass index (kg/m2, calculated by weight [kg] divided by height [m] squared), measurements of physical activity, and chronic disorders (diabetes and stroke). For determining APOE genotype, a PCR was used in RS-I and a biallelic TaqMan assay (rs7412 and rs429358) was used on labeled DNA samples in both RS-II and RS-III. This study included the first 2 subcohorts (RS-I and RS-II). APOE-ε4 allele represented carriership of at least 1 ε4 allele. Participants were divided into 3 different groups: high genetic risk (ε2ε4, ε3ε4, or ε4ε4), intermediate risk (ε3ε3) or low risk (ε2ε2 or ε2ε3) for dementia.22

Statistical Analysis

For baseline characteristics, normally distributed variables are described as mean ± SD and non-normally distributed continuous variables as median (interquartile range) among women and men.
Cox proportional hazards models were used for investigating the association between BMD and dementia risk. Follow-up time started on the baseline date of bone scan and ended until the date of diagnosis of dementia, death, loss to follow-up, or January 1, 2020. Schoenfeld residuals were calculated for checking the proportional hazards assumption. And the proportional hazards assumptions were not violated if p values were above 0.05. We used Kaplan-Meier survival curves to map group differences in BMD and TBS tertiles for dementia. Cox proportional hazard models were adjusted for age, sex, APOE genotypes, education attainment, physical activity, smoking status, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol level, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and history of chronic disorders (stroke and diabetes mellitus). Age and sex are 2 strong risk factors of low BMD because bone mineral loss is manifested after the age of 50 years or menopause23,24; therefore, the tertile categories of BMD and TBS were derived by generating tertiles from the residuals of linear regression models adjusted for age (continuously) and sex. Effects of BMD were also assessed when expressed as per 1 SD decrease. Associations were determined by measuring the effects of each tertile or per 1 SD decrease of BMD at the femoral neck, the lumbar spine, and total body and TBS on the dementia risk.
As a consequence of the proportionality assumption of the Cox model being violated in some analyses, stratified Cox models by incremental epochs of follow-up time were used to examine how the aforementioned risk of incident dementia changed over follow-up duration (extending epochs, e.g., baseline to 5 years, baseline to 10 years, and baseline to more than 10 years). In addition, we stratified analyses by sex and APOE-ε4 allele carriership (carrier vs noncarrier), which were suggested as possible effect modifiers.21,25,26
A p value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Data analyses were performed using R version 3.6.0. Missing covariates were computed using predictive mean matching for numeric variables and logistic regression for binary variables using the MICE package.27

Standard Protocol Approvals, Registrations, and Patient Consents

A written informed consent was provided before participants participated in the study and agreed to have their information acquired given by treating physicians. All authors could get access to the study data and are responsible for the data, analyses, and interpretation of results.

Data Availability

Data can be obtained by sending request toward the management team of the RS ([email protected]), which follows the protocol for approving data requests. To meet the requirements of privacy regulations and informed consent of the participants, data cannot be publicly available.

Results

Clinical Characteristics

As summarized in Table1, among 3,651 participants (median age 72.3 ± 10.0 years), 2,113 (57.9%) are women. During a median follow-up duration of 11.1 years, 688 (18.8%) developed incident dementia, of whom 528 (76.7%) developed AD.
Table 1 Baseline Characteristics of Participants in Longitudinal Analyses

BMD and Dementia Risk Over Incremental Epochs of Follow-up Duration

Throughout the whole follow-up period, lower BMD at the femoral neck (per SD decrease), not at other bone sites, was related to a higher risk of all-cause dementia (hazard ratio [HR]total follow-up 1.12, 95% CI 1.02–1.23) and AD (HRtotal follow-up 1.14, 95% CI 1.02–1.28) (Table 2). As summarized in eTable 1 (links.lww.com/WNL/C666), results were similar when we categorized individuals by BMD tertiles: the highest risks were observed for dementia and AD in the lowest group.
Table 2 BMD and the Risk of Incident Dementia Stratified by Incremental Epochs of Follow-up Timea
Within the first 10 years after baseline, associations were greatest between lower BMD (per SD decrease) and a higher risk of all-cause dementia (femoral neck BMD, HR0–10 years 1.43; 95% CI 1.19–1.72; total body BMD, HR0–10 years 1.22; 95% CI 1.00–1.47) and AD (femoral neck BMD, HR0–10 years 1.52; 95% CI 1.20–1.92). The HRs for incident all-cause dementia comparing the lowest tertile of the femoral neck BMD, total body BMD, and TBS with the highest tertile were 2.03 (95% CI 1.39–2.96), 1.42 (95% CI 1.01–2.02), and 1.59 (95% CI 1.11–2.28) separately (Table 2). Similar results remained only between femoral neck BMD, TBS, and the risk of AD, which are listed in eTable 1 (links.lww.com/WNL/C666).
As summarized in Table 2 and eTable 1 (links.lww.com/WNL/C666), only BMD at the femoral neck was related to all-cause dementia occurrence over the first 5 years of the follow-up (HR0–5 years 2.13; 95% CI 1.28–3.57, per SD decrease).

Kaplan-Meier Curves of Dementia-Free Survival by Levels of BMD

As presented in Figure 2 and eFigure 1 (links.lww.com/WNL/C666), within the first 5 years during the follow-up, the curves of dementia-free or AD-free probability were nearly overlapped at all tertile levels of the BMD, but the curve at the lowest tertile of the femoral neck BMD started to fall faster than that at the highest tertile later on. Similar temporal curve trends for dementia-free probability were also observed for the total body BMD and TBS, but not for the lumbar spine BMD.
Figure 2 Kaplan-Meier Curves of Dementia-Free Survival at Different Levels of Bone Mineral Density at Each Site

Stratification

When stratified by sex and APOE-ε4 carriership, significant associations were found between lower femoral neck BMD (the lowest tertile vs the highest tertile) and a higher risk of all-cause dementia in men (HR 1.56; 95% CI 1.12–2.16), but not in women (HR 1.13; 95% CI 0.87–1.47); and in non-APOE-ε4 carriers (HR 1.36; 95% CI 1.04–1.76), but not in APOE-ε4 carriers (HR 1.16; 95% CI 0.84–1.60). Significant associations were also observed between low TBS and increased risk of dementia (Figure 3). Stratification for the HR estimates of AD was represented in eFigure 2 (links.lww.com/WNL/C666). Statistically significant interactions were observed between sex and low TBSs (p = 0.02) and between APOE-ε4 carriership and low TBSs (p = 0.01) (data not presented).
Figure 3 Associations of Low BMD of the Total Body (A), the Femoral Neck (B), the Lumbar Spine (C), and Trabecular Bone (D) Scores With the Risk of All-Cause Dementia, Stratified by Sex and APOE-ε4 Allele Carriership
Participants in the highest tertile of BMD were regarded as the reference group (hidden). Estimated HRs were obtained after adjustment of (if applicable) age, sex, APOE genotype, education attainment, physical activity, smoking status, body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol levels, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and history of comorbidities (stroke and diabetes mellitus). *The tertile categories of BMD and trabecular bone score were derived by generating tertiles from the residuals of linear regression models adjusted for age (continuously) and sex. The highest tertile was considered as the reference group. BMD = bone mineral density; HR = hazard ratio.

Discussion

In this study, low femoral neck and total body BMD and low TBS were associated with an increased risk of dementia. The associations were strongest in the first 10 years of follow-up.
Participants with low BMD at the femoral neck had an increased risk of dementia in both this study and previous prospective studies.28,29 It has also been demonstrated that participants with low femoral neck BMD may also experience structural brain changes, including declined white matter volume, increased white matter hyperintensity volume, occurrence of silent brain infarction, and progression of parenchymal atrophy.30,31 A small cross-sectional study found that low total body BMD was common in the earliest clinical stages of AD and was related to brain atrophy and memory decline,32 which was supported by the significant association between total body BMD and dementia risk in this study. Potential pathophysiologic mechanisms behind low BMD being a prodrome of dementia might include the effect of β-amyloid on suppressing osteoblast proliferation and enhancing osteoclast activity33,34 and/or impact of systemic Wnt/β-catenin signaling deficits on impeding osteoblast differentiation and bone formation.35,36 Apart from the abovementioned pathway, bone-derived proteins, such as osteopontin, osteocalcin, and sclerostin, might also affect both bone loss and dementia progression.37 Moreover, the loss of cognition preceding dementia inevitably influences quality of life among older individuals by modifying nutrition intake and self-care ability, which further accelerates the loss of BMD and increases fracture risk with aging.38,39
Concerning scarcity of evidence on the association between bone microarchitecture and dementia, an inverse association was observed between TBS and dementia risk. Low TBS was associated with a weak and less fracture-resistant microarchitecture19 and, consequently, also with fractures.11 As the disease progresses, participants with subclinical dementia could experience changes in body composition40 and confront with an increased risk of fracture,41 which was reported as an independent risk of dementia.42 This suggests that low TBS might occur as a prodromal feature of dementia. Further evidence from prospective studies is warranted to demonstrate the causality of the association.
Our findings did not support a link between lumbar spine bone density and dementia risk, which contrasts with findings of prior studies.43,44 Low BMD at the lumbar spine was associated with cognitive decline over a 3-year follow-up period in a Korean middle-aged community-dwelling population.43 Moreover, a Chinese cohort study (n = 946) reported an association between low lumbar spine BMD and increased risks of AD and the conversion from mild cognitive impairment to the onset of dementia.44 Different findings might result from relatively small sample size, a short follow-up time, or cross-sectional design of previous studies.
Our study shows that femoral neck BMD is the most robustly associated factor with incident dementia. There are biological differences between skeletal sites, which may explain these differences in effect. Bones within the lumbar spine consist predominantly of trabecular bone with a thin sheet of cortical bone surrounding them. By contrast, long bones, similar to those of the femur, are comprised predominantly of a thicker sheet of cortical bone and a thin inner layer of trabecular bone. Cortical and trabecular bone differ in their material and mechanical and functional properties. Thus, changes to cortical BMD could affect dementia risk more strongly than trabecular BMD, and this could be reflected in the differences in associations between sites. Furthermore, BMD of the femoral neck and total hip has been shown to decrease more rapidly with age in comparison with other skeletal sites.45,46 Risk factors, such as poor diet and physical activity, may affect these bones differentially, regarding their composition and rate of decline, which in turn may explain the differential associations with dementia. However, the exact mechanism remains unclear and should be the focus of future study.
Our study added extra knowledge to previous findings that associations change with time, with the strength of the effect decreasing with increasing follow-up time. This suggests that total BMD and TBS might occur as prodromal features instead of causes of dementia and related toxic protein accumulation in the brain. In other words, persons with subclinical incipient dementia may have poor bone health due to the dementia process instead of vice versa. Alternatively, participants with a low level of BMD are at a high risk of falls and other mortalities, especially with a longer follow-up duration, and thus, death as a competing risk may also affect the associations. In addition, the results in the first 5 years of follow-up would be unstable. The small number would primarily affect the power of these analyses, reflected in wider CIs. The effect size itself would not necessarily be affected. Nevertheless, given the limited number of cases with dementia, the interpretation of this part result should be taken with caution.
In contrast to the finding of a prior study,28 our study suggested that low BMD increased the risk of dementia in male, but not in female individuals. A previous study28 reported an increased risk of AD only among women with low BMD at the femoral neck, which indicates the potentially protective effect of estrogen on mediating the negative association through inhibiting bone resorption and deterring neuronal apoptosis, atherosclerosis, and oxidative stress.47,48 Although the risk of AD decreased after taking estrogen replacement,49 this was contradicted by another study.50 In addition, little evidence supports sex differences in the associations of low BMD with brain atrophy.30 Future research is therefore needed to explore these hypotheses further.
The aim of our study was not necessarily etiologic, but instead to demonstrate the pattern of association. Indeed, we do not feel that BMD per se is causally related to dementia. Unraveling such etiologic link could, for instance, be a topic of study in Mendelian Randomization studies. Nevertheless, as an indicator of dementia risk, intervening in BMD may improve clinical care of these persons, especially considering the multicomorbidities and polypharmacy that are highly prevalent in this group.
The major important strength of our study is the relatively long follow-up time (mean 11.1 ± 2.9 years) and sufficient incident cases of dementia (n = 688). One limitation of this study lies in the weakness in determining the causality of associations concerning inherent restraints of observational study, including unmeasured confounders such as vitamin D and K and osteoporosis medications, although a large number of covariables were adjusted for in models. Future studies are warranted to assess the effect of these factors on the association. In addition, another weakness of this study is the violation of the proportionality assumption in some cox models. However, we performed stratification by incremental epochs of follow-up duration extending from the baseline. Finally, because our participants were primarily of European origin, with a mean age older than 70 years at baseline, this might restrict the extrapolation of our findings to other populations/ethnicities and younger populations.
In conclusion, participants with low femoral neck and total body BMD and low TBS were more likely to develop dementia. Further studies should focus on the predictive ability of BMD for dementia.

Glossary

AD
Alzheimer disease
BMD
bone mineral density
DXA
dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry
GMS
geriatric mental state schedule
HR
hazard ratio
MMSE
Mini-Mental State Examination
RS
Rotterdam Study
TBS
trabecular bone score

Acknowledgment

The authors thank the participants of the Rotterdam Study, research assistants, the general practitioners, hospitals, and pharmacies in Rotterdam.

Appendix Authors

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Letters to the Editor
11 April 2023
Reader Response: Association of Bone Mineral Density and Dementia: The Rotterdam Study
Steven Brenner, Retired Neurologist | Saint Louis University Neurology Dept. (retired)

I read the article by Xiao et al 1 with interest with reference to increased likelihood of dementia associated with low bone mineral density (BMD). Low BMD is likely an indication of low estrogen levels following menopause, since osteoporosis occurs from decreased estrogen levels.2 Estrogen also regulates brain metabolism and decreased levels could contribute increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).3

Timing of initiating replacement hormonal therapy, “critical window” (CW) theory, may be important in delaying or avoiding cognitive decline.3 Earlier institution of hormonal therapy (HT) around menopause rather than later resulted in better cognitive function,4  while late initiation of HT revealed increased tau vulnerability on PET scans of the brain.5

It likely takes some time for osteoporosis to develop following menopause, and once it has occurred, there may be an increased risk of developing dementia, including AD. HT instituted during the CW—prior to onset of decreased BMD—could potentially delay time of onset or decrease the likelihood of developing AD.

1. Xiao T, Ghatan S, Mooldijk SS, Trajanoska K, Oei L, Gomez MM, Ikram MK, Rivadeneira F, Ikram MA. Association of Bone Mineral Density and Dementia: The Rotterdam Study. Neurology. 2023 Mar 22:10.1212/WNL.0000000000207220. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000207220. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36948596.

2. Levin VA, Jiang X, Kagan R. Estrogen therapy for osteoporosis in the modern era. Osteoporos Int. 2018 May;29(5):1049-1055. doi: 10.1007/s00198-018-4414-z. Epub 2018 Mar 8. PMID: 29520604.

3. Rettberg JR, Yao J, Brinton RD. Estrogen: a master regulator of bioenergetic systems in the brain and body. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2014 Jan;35(1):8-30. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2013.08.001. Epub 2013 Aug 29. PMID: 23994581; PMCID: PMC4024050.

4.. MacLennan AH, Henderson VW, Paine BJ, Mathias J, Ramsay EN, Ryan P, Stocks NP, Taylor AW. Hormone therapy, timing of initiation, and cognition in women aged older than 60 years: the REMEMBER pilot study. Menopause. 2006 Jan-Feb;13(1):28-36. doi: 10.1097/01.gme.0000191204.38664.61. PMID: 16607096.

5. Coughlan GT, Betthauser TJ, Boyle R, Koscik RL, Klinger HM, Chibnik LB, Jonaitis EM, Yau WW, Wenzel A, Christian BT, Gleason CE, Saelzler UG, Properzi MJ, Schultz AP, Hanseeuw BJ, Manson JE, Rentz DM, Johnson KA, Sperling R, Johnson SC, Buckley RF. Association of Age at Menopause and Hormone Therapy Use With Tau and β-Amyloid Positron Emission Tomography. JAMA Neurol. 2023 Apr 3:e230455. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2023.0455. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37010830; PMCID: PMC10071399.

Author disclosures are available upon request([email protected]).

13 April 2023
Reader Response: Association of Bone Mineral Density and Dementia: The Rotterdam Study
Tomoyuki Kawada, Professor | Nippon Medical School

Xiao et al. conducted a prospective study to investigate the risk of dementia in the elderly with low bone mineral density (BMD) by considering APOE genotype.1 The adjusted hazard ratios of participants with lower BMD at the femoral neck, lower total body BMD, and lower trabecular bone score for all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD) significantly increased. Increased risk was predominant within the first ten years after following-up. Low BMD increased the risk of dementia in men, not in women. I have a comment regarding sex differences in the association.

Although there is a lack of evidence supporting sex differences in the associations of low BMD with dementia, estrogen has an effect of bone metabolism, atherosclerosis, and oxidative stress.2,3Tan et al. reported a significantly increased risk of AD and all-cause dementia only in women with low BMD at the femoral neck.4 In contrast, low BMD at the trochanter and the radial shaft in women did not present a significant risk of dementia. Sex differences in the association was only observed in BMD of a specific site.

Zhang et al. also conducted a prospective study to investigate the relationship between BMD and the risk of incident dementia.5 Higher BMD T scores at the lumbar spine, trochanter, and total hip were significantly associated with the reduced risk of dementia. The significant association was only shown in women. The significance was also recognized after adjusting for serum estradiol, and estrogen cannot fully explain the risk reduction of dementia. Xiao et al. observed an inverse relationship between BMD and dementia only in men1 ,and causal mechanism should be specified by further studies.

1. Xiao T, Ghatan S, Mooldijk SS, et al. Association of Bone Mineral Density and Dementia: The Rotterdam Study. Neurology 2023 Mar 22. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000207220. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Iantomasi T, Romagnoli C, Palmini G, et al. Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Osteoporosis: Molecular Mechanisms Involved and the Relationship with microRNAs. Int J Mol Sci 2023;24(4):3772.

3. Schelbaum E, Loughlin L, Jett S, et al. Association of Reproductive History With Brain MRI Biomarkers of Dementia Risk in Midlife. Neurology 2021;97(23):e2328-e2339.

4. Tan ZS, Seshadri S, Beiser A, et al. Bone mineral density and the risk of Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol 2005;62(1):107-111.

5. Zhang X, Hsu WWQ, Sing CW, et al. Low Bone Mineral Density With Risk of Dementia: A Prospective Cohort Study. J Am Med Dir Assoc 2022;23(10):1719.e9-1719.e19.

Author disclosures are available upon request([email protected]).

 

24 March 2023
Reader Response: Association of Bone Mineral Density and Dementia: The Rotterdam Study
James M Howard, Biologist | Independent

I read the article by Xiao et al with interest. 1 I suggest the basis of low bone mineral density and dementia is low testosterone and low dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Both are increased by low testosterone and low DHEA; both are moderately affected by treatment with testosterone or DHEA. It is my hypothesis that mammalian evolution occurred because of selection for DHEA and human evolution because of selection for testosterone because testosterone increases intracellular DHEA. These two androgens work together. Often, in other diseases, treatment with one or the other androgen produces some positive effects; they have not been used together.

1. Xiao T, Ghatan S, Mooldijk SS, et al. Association of Bone Mineral Density and Dementia: The Rotterdam Study. Neurology. 2023. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000207220

Author disclosures are available upon request([email protected]).

Information & Authors

Information

Published In

Neurology®
Volume 100Number 20May 16, 2023
Pages: e2125-e2133
PubMed: 36948596

Publication History

Received: October 3, 2022
Accepted: February 9, 2023
Published online: March 22, 2023
Published in print: May 16, 2023

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Disclosure

The authors report no disclosures relevant to the manuscript. Go to Neurology.org/N for full disclosures.

Study Funding

The Rotterdam Study is sponsored by the Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (I), The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE), The Netherlands Genomics Initiative, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, the European Commission (DG XII), and the Municipality of Rotterdam. Further support was obtained from the Netherlands Consortium for Healthy Ageing. This study was partly performed as part of the Netherlands Consortium of Dementia Cohorts (NCDC), which also receives funding in the context of Deltaplan Dementie from ZonMW Memorabel (project number 73305095005) and Alzheimer Nederland. Further funding was obtained through the Stichting Erasmus Trustfonds (grant number 97030.2021.101.430/057/RB). Moreover, L. Oei is funded by an Erasmus MC fellowship grant.

Authors

Affiliations & Disclosures

Tian Xiao, MD*
From the Department of Epidemiology (T.X., S.G., S.S.M., K.T., M.K.I., M.A.I.), Department of Internal Medicine (S.G., K.T., L.O., M.M.G., F.R.), and Department of Neurology (M.K.I.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
None
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
None
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
This study was partly performed as part of the Netherlands Consortium of Dementia Cohorts (NCDC), which receives funding in the context of Deltaplan Dementie from ZonMW Memorabel (projectnr 73305095005) and Alzheimer Nederland. The Rotterdam Study is funded by Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands Organization for the Health Research and Development (ZonMw), the Research institute for Diseases in the Elderly (Ride), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sports, the European Commission (DG XII) and the Municipality of Rotterdam. Financial support was also provided by the Foundation for Liver and Gastrointestinal Research, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Samuel Ghatan, MSc*
From the Department of Epidemiology (T.X., S.G., S.S.M., K.T., M.K.I., M.A.I.), Department of Internal Medicine (S.G., K.T., L.O., M.M.G., F.R.), and Department of Neurology (M.K.I.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
None
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
None
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
Sam's PhD was funded fromthe European Union's Horizon 2020 researchand innovation program under the H2020 Ma-rie Sk&#322;odowska-Curie Actions grant 860898.
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
None
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Sanne S. Mooldijk, MD
From the Department of Epidemiology (T.X., S.G., S.S.M., K.T., M.K.I., M.A.I.), Department of Internal Medicine (S.G., K.T., L.O., M.M.G., F.R.), and Department of Neurology (M.K.I.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
None
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
None
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
None
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Katerina Trajanoska, MD, PhD
From the Department of Epidemiology (T.X., S.G., S.S.M., K.T., M.K.I., M.A.I.), Department of Internal Medicine (S.G., K.T., L.O., M.M.G., F.R.), and Department of Neurology (M.K.I.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
None
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
None
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
None
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Ling Oei, MD, PhD
From the Department of Epidemiology (T.X., S.G., S.S.M., K.T., M.K.I., M.A.I.), Department of Internal Medicine (S.G., K.T., L.O., M.M.G., F.R.), and Department of Neurology (M.K.I.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
None
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
None
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
None
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
M. Medina Gomez, PhD
From the Department of Epidemiology (T.X., S.G., S.S.M., K.T., M.K.I., M.A.I.), Department of Internal Medicine (S.G., K.T., L.O., M.M.G., F.R.), and Department of Neurology (M.K.I.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
None
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
None
Editorial Boards:
1.
Calcified Tissue International, Editorial Board, 1 year
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
ECTS academy
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
M. Kamran Ikram, MD, PhD
From the Department of Epidemiology (T.X., S.G., S.S.M., K.T., M.K.I., M.A.I.), Department of Internal Medicine (S.G., K.T., L.O., M.M.G., F.R.), and Department of Neurology (M.K.I.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
None
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
None
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
None
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Fernando Rivadeneira, PhD
From the Department of Epidemiology (T.X., S.G., S.S.M., K.T., M.K.I., M.A.I.), Department of Internal Medicine (S.G., K.T., L.O., M.M.G., F.R.), and Department of Neurology (M.K.I.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
None
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
None
Editorial Boards:
1.
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research - Deputy Editor - 2018-2023
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
None
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
From the Department of Epidemiology (T.X., S.G., S.S.M., K.T., M.K.I., M.A.I.), Department of Internal Medicine (S.G., K.T., L.O., M.M.G., F.R.), and Department of Neurology (M.K.I.), Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
None
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
None
Editorial Boards:
1.
(1) Neuroepidemiology, Editorial Board Member, 2011-2023, (2) PLoS One, Academic Editor, 2013-2017, (3) Journal of Alzheimer Disease, Academic Editor, 2016-2023, (4) European Journal of Clinical Investigation, Academic Editor, 2016-2020
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
(1) Biogen Inc.
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
(1) Janssen Prevention Center
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
(1) Netherlands Organization for Health Research andDevelopment, ZonMW, PI, 2012-2024, (2)European Research Council, PI, 2016-2021, (3) JointProgramme in Neurodegenerative Diseases, PI, 2014-2024
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
None
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE

Notes

Correspondence Dr. Ikram [email protected]
Go to Neurology.org/N for full disclosures. Funding information and disclosures deemed relevant by the authors, if any, are provided at the end of the article.
The Article Processing Charge was funded by UKB Waiver - Erasmus MC.
Submitted and externally peer reviewed. The handling editor was Associate Editor Linda Hershey, MD, PhD, FAAN.
*
These authors contributed equally to this work.

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  1. Low bone mineral density is associated with gray matter volume decrease in UK Biobank, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 15, (2023).https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2023.1287304
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  2. Identification of heel bone mineral density as a risk factor of Alzheimer’s disease by analyzing large-scale genome-wide association studies datasets, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 11, (2023).https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2023.1247067
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  3. Increased risk of osteoporosis in patients with cognitive impairment: a systematic review and meta-analysis, BMC Geriatrics, 23, 1, (2023).https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-023-04548-z
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