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Pulmonary function and risk of Alzheimer dementia: two-sample Mendelian randomization study

By Tom C Russ, Sarah E Harris, George David Batty

Posted 29 Jul 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.07.28.20163352

Dementia is a major global public health concern and in addition to recognised risk factors there is emerging evidence that poorer pulmonary function is linked with subsequent dementia risk. However, it is unclear if this observed association is causal or whether it might result from confounding. Therefore, we present the first two-sample Mendelian randomisation study of the association between pulmonary function and Alzheimer dementia using the most recent genome-wide association studies to produce instrumental variables for both. We found no evidence of a causal effect of reduced Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second (FEV1) or Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) on Alzheimer dementia risk (both P>0.35). However, the FEV1/FVC ratio was associated with Alzheimer dementia risk with, in fact, superior function predicting an increased dementia risk (OR 1.12, 95%CI 1.02-1.23; P=0.016) which may result from survivor bias. While we can conclude that there is no causal link between impaired pulmonary function and Alzheimer dementia, our study sheds less light on potential links with other types of dementia.

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