Depression, vascular factors, and risk of dementia in primary care: A retrospective cohort study

Sebastian Köhler, Frank Buntinx, Katie Palmer, Marjan Van Den Akker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives To study the interaction between and timing effects of depression and vascular disorders on dementia risk. Design Retrospective cohort study. Setting Primary care practices in the south of the Netherlands. Participants Individuals in primary care aged 50 to 100 followed for 13 years (N = 35,791). Measurements Medical diagnoses of incident depression, hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, stroke, and dementia were extracted from a research database. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to test whether incident depression predicted dementia and its putative interactions with vascular factors. Results In total, 1,680 participants developed dementia. Individuals with depression (n = 978) had a higher risk of dementia (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 2.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.56-2.64). Depression exerted most effect in participants with incident stroke (HR = 5.29, 95% CI = 2.52-11.14) or newly diagnosed hypertension (HR = 3.09, 95% CI = 1.54-6.20). Conclusion Depression in later life increases the risk of dementia. The effect is particularly high in individuals with depression and vascular disorders. Targeting late-onset depression in individuals with vascular disorders might lower dementia risk by preventing cerebrovascular changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-698
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015


  • dementia
  • depression
  • epidemiology
  • hypertension
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Medicine(all)


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