Identifying modifiable factors and their joint effect on dementia risk in the UK Biobank

Previous hypothesis-driven research has identified many risk factors linked to dementia. However, the multiplicity and co-occurrence of risk factors have been underestimated. Here we analysed data of 344,324 participants from the UK Biobank with 15 yr of follow-up data for 210 modifiable risk factors. We first conducted an exposure-wide association study and then combined factors associated with dementia to generate composite scores for different domains. We then evaluated their joint associations with dementia in a multivariate Cox model. We estimated the potential impact of eliminating the unfavourable profiles of risk domains on dementia using population attributable fraction. The associations varied by domain, with lifestyle (16.6%), medical history (14.0%) and socioeconomic status (13.5%) contributing to the majority of dementia cases. Overall, we estimated that up to 47.0%-72.6% of dementia cases could be prevented.