Genetic and cardiovascular risk factors in dementia (2020)



Dementia is the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) accounts for approximately two thirds of dementia cases and the major pathological hallmark of AD is accumulation of amyloid-β. Still, large parts of the underlying biology remain unknown and currently there are no curative treatments. Since heritability of dementia is substantial, the study of genetics may help unravel the underlying pathogenesis. Disease associated loci identified in genome-wide association studies can be used to pinpoint novel pathogenic pathways and disease risk assessments.
Cardiovascular disease and dementia share several risk factors and dementia often coexist with cerebrovascular disease. It is suggested that a 10% reduction in prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors could prevent more than 9 million dementia cases worldwide by 2050. However, intervention studies primarily targeting cardiovascular risk factors indicate that only very intense interventions pay off. Such intensive and staff-requiring interventions will be expensive to implement in all at risk of dementia and will represent unrealistic economic tasks for most societies. Combining genetics and modifiable risk factors in a dementia risk score, high-risk individuals who likely will benefit the most from targeted preventive interventions can be identified.

Place of employment

PhD author

Ida Juul Rasmussen,

Date and place of defense

9th June 2020, Auditorium 1, Rigshospitalet


Main supervisor: Ruth Frikke-Schmidt Professor, MD, PhD, DMSc, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Rigshospitalet
Co-supervisor: Anne Tybjærg-Hansen, Professor, MD, DMSc, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Rigshospitalet
Co-supervisor: Katrine Laura Rasmussen, MD, PhD, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Rigshospitalet



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