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Partner Bereavement and Detection of Dementia: A UK-Based Cohort Study Using Routine Health Data

Forbes, HJ; Wong, AYS; Morton, C; Bhaskaran, K; Smeeth, L; Richards, M; Schmidt, SAJ; ... Warren-Gash, C; + view all (2019) Partner Bereavement and Detection of Dementia: A UK-Based Cohort Study Using Routine Health Data. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 10.3233/JAD-190571. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: In the UK, an estimated one third of people with dementia have not received a diagnosis. Good evidence suggests that dementia risk is increased among widowed individuals; however, it is not clear if they are being diagnosed in routine primary care. // OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate if bereavement influenced the probability of having received a dementia diagnosis. // METHODS: A population-based cohort study using UK electronic health records, between 1997 and 2017, among 247,586 opposite-sex partners. Those experiencing partner bereavement were matched (age, sex, and date of bereavement) to a non-bereaved person living in a partnership. Multivariate cox regression was performed. // RESULTS: Partner bereavement was associated with an increased risk of receiving a diagnosis of dementia in the first three months (hazard ratio (HR) 1.43, 95% CI 1.20-1.71) and first six months (HR 1.24, 95% CI 1.09-1.41), while there was a small reduced risk of getting a dementia diagnosis over all follow-up (HR 0.94, 95% CI 0.89-0.98). // CONCLUSIONS: Partner bereavement appears to lead to a short-term increased risk of the surviving partner receiving a diagnosis of dementia, suggesting that bereavement unmasks existing undiagnosed dementia. Over the longer term, however, bereaved individuals are less likely to have a diagnosis of dementia in their health records than non-bereaved individuals.

Type: Article
Title: Partner Bereavement and Detection of Dementia: A UK-Based Cohort Study Using Routine Health Data
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3233/JAD-190571
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-190571
Language: English
Additional information: This article is published online with Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0).
Keywords: Bereavement, Clinical Practice Research Datalink, dementia, diagnosis, epidemiology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10085228
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