BACKGROUND: In light of the increasing trend in the global number of individuals affected by dementia and the lack of any available disease-modifying therapies, it is necessary to fully understand and quantify the global burden of dementia. This work aimed to estimate the proportion of dementia due to Down syndrome, Parkinson's disease, clinical stroke, and traumatic brain injury (TBI), globally and by world region, in order to better understand the contribution of clinical diseases to dementia prevalence.
METHODS: Through literature review, we obtained data on the relative risk of dementia with each condition and estimated relative risks by age using a Bayesian meta-regression tool. We then calculated population attributable fractions (PAFs), or the proportion of dementia attributable to each condition, using the estimates of relative risk and prevalence estimates for each condition from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Finally, we multiplied these estimates by dementia prevalence to calculate the number of dementia cases attributable to each condition.
FINDINGS: For each clinical condition, the relative risk of dementia decreased with age. Relative risks were highest for Down syndrome, followed by Parkinson's disease, stroke, and TBI. However, due to the high prevalence of stroke, the PAF for dementia due to stroke was highest. Together, Down syndrome, Parkinson's disease, stroke, and TBI explained 10.0% (95% UI: 6.0-16.5) of the global prevalence of dementia.
INTERPRETATION: Ten percent of dementia prevalence globally could be explained by Down syndrome, Parkinson's disease, stroke, and TBI. The quantification of the proportion of dementia attributable to these 4 conditions constitutes a small contribution to our overall understanding of what causes dementia. However, epidemiological research into modifiable risk factors as well as basic science research focused on elucidating intervention approaches to prevent or delay the neuropathological changes that commonly characterize dementia will be critically important in future efforts to prevent and treat disease.