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The Mental Health Research Group Seminar

The Mental Health Research Group Seminar

Environmental factors explain non-random geographical variation in dementia. Speaker: Dr Tom Russ, University of Edinburgh

Event details

Dr Tom Russ is a Clinical Lecturer in Old Age Psychiatry.

In the absence of successful treatment modalities, there is an urgent need to understand dementia aetiology in order to delay or prevent its onset. One route to identify potentially modifiable risk or protective factors from the whole life course is examining geographical variation in dementia rates. However, genetic and environmental influences on geographical variation have not been adequately separated. Here we show that the majority of geographical variation in dementia rates is likely to be the result of unshared environmental factors which have their effect in adolescence and adulthood. We found a two-to-three fold variation in dementia rates in the Swedish Twin Registry after twin random effects – likely to capture genetic and shared environmental variance – were removed. In the complementary 1932 Scottish Mental Survey cohort we found no variation in dementia risk in childhood but substantial variation, following a broadly similar pattern to Sweden, by adulthood. We anticipate that our findings will prompt further work confirming the importance of environmental exposures in dementia risk and subsequent research attention to identify the potentially modifiable socio-environmental risk factors for dementia responsible for this geographical variation in risk.

Please convene at 12:50

If you would like to attend please email:

Map of the RD&E Hospital site attached


map.docx (3469K)