Veterans found to have no increased risk of dementia

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A RECENT study has discovered the number of Scottish veterans that develop dementia is no greater than any other person.

These results were found after the University of Glasgow compared the survival analysis of ex service men against those who had not served.

The data used consisted of comparing 78,000 veterans against 253,000 non veterans all of which were born in Scotland between 1945 and 1995

The University of Glasgow on a sunny day - Scottish News
Photo by Paulina B on Unsplash. The University of Glasgow received funding from Forces in Mind Trust to help them with their research

Dr Beverly Bergman, of the University of Glasgow, who led the study said: “This is an important preliminary study as previously we had no information on whether military service is a risk factor for dementia.

“We already knew that depression and PTSD were associated with an increased risk of dementia in later life.

“In older people, these conditions might be an early warning of dementia and in veterans, they should not just be put down to earlier in-service trauma, as prompt assessment and correct treatment can minimise deterioration.”

 

Microscope analysing some data - Scottish News
Photo by Yassine Khalfalli on Unsplash. The increased risk of dementia was higher in veterans with depression, but for PTSD it is the opposite.

The researchers have suggested that while these new findings have been positive, they plan to continue their research as the post-National Service veterans continue to age.

The study funded by Forces in Mind Trust confirmed that the diagnosis of PTSD or depression is linked to an increased risk of developing long term dementia.

Thomas McBarnet, Forces in Mind Trust, Director of Programmes said: “Our mission is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life.

A crowd of people celebrate their veterans - Research News Scotland
Photo by Roberto Catarinicchia on Unslpash. Veterans used in the study were all matched for age, gender and residency.

“We believe that no veteran should be disadvantaged because of their service and an understanding of the health risks which they may face is critical to also ensuring they receive the care to which they are entitled.

“Whilst it is good news that veterans do not face an increased risk of dementia, we must continue to research and seek to better understand how to support future generations of veterans.” 

The information came from the study ‘Dementia in Scottish military veterans: early evidence from a retrospective cohort study and is published in Psychological Medicine here.