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Approved research

The role of metabolic and cardiovascular disease and treatments in dementia and cognitive decline

Principal Investigator: Dr Danielle Newby
Approved Research ID: 43309
Approval date: April 11th 2019

Lay summary

Cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (M/C-D) impact on multiple organs and tissues beyond those of the cardiovascular system. However, despite its social burden, what causes these diseases are still poorly understood although there are numerous risk factors such as age, hypertension, smoking and diabetes. Dementia is one of the biggest health burdens world-wide, with fifty million people estimated to suffer the disease in 2018, a number likely rise to over 150 million by 2050 due to ageing populations. There is evidence linking dementia and cognitive decline with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, plus related risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes. These studies mostly indicate that there is an increased risk of dementia/cognitive decline with individual diseases or risk factors although the opposite has also been found. Few studies have investigated the association between cardiovascular and metabolic diseases drug treatments and cognitive decline. The evidence of a potential protective effect for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases drug treatments is conflicting especially for anti-hypertensives. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and their treatments on cognitive and dementia using UK biobank data. The project duration for this project will take 36 months. Cardiovascular/metabolic diseases are major causes of morbidity and mortality second only to the growing impact of dementia. The impact of Cardiovascular/metabolic diseases on cognition is important as modifications of risk factors or disease may reduce the risk of dementia, whether this be through lifestyle modification or medication. This research is in the public interest as the evidence is growing that management of cardiovascular/metabolic health impacts on cognitive decline and dementia risk. By utilising the large dataset of UK biobank, we can increase our understanding of Cardiovascular/metabolic diseases and its risk factors in relation to cognitive decline and dementia and provide an evidence base to support public health interventions for dementia prevention.