London: Men who are taller in young adulthood may have a lower risk of dementia in old age, according to a new research. Previous studies have suggested that height may be a risk factor for dementia, but much of this research was not able to take into account genetic, environmental, or other early-life factors that may be linked to both height and dementia.
“We wanted to see if body height in young men is associated with diagnosis of dementia, while exploring whether intelligence test scores, educational level, and underlying environmental and genetic factors shared by brothers explain the relationship," said lead author Terese Sara Hoj Jorgensen.
When the team took into account the potential role of intelligence or education, the unadjusted relationship between height and dementia risk was only slightly reduced. They found that the relationship between height and dementia also existed when they looked at brothers with different heights, suggesting that genetics and family characteristics alone do not explain why shorter men had a greater dementia risk. “A key strength of our study is that it adjusted for the potential role of education and intelligence in young men's dementia risk, both of which may build up cognitive reserve and make this group less vulnerable to developing dementia,” said study senior author.
‘Cognitive reserve refers to the brain's ability solve problems that come up in everyday life. Adjusting for education and intelligence reduces the likelihood that the relationship between height and dementia is really explained by cognitive reserve.