Diabetes-Associated Dementia Risk and Competing Risk of Death in the Three-City Study

Eric Frison*, Carole Dufouil, Catherine Helmer, Claudine Berr, Sophie Auriacombe, Geneviève Chêne, Ramit Ravona-Springer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diabetes is associated with a higher dementia and mortality risk. However, few studies have accounted for death when estimating the association between diabetes and dementia. We estimated absolute and relative risks of all-cause dementia according to diabetes exposure status in older adults while accounting for competing risk of death using illness-death models. Effect modification by specific characteristics (age, gender, education, cardiovascular risk factors, body mass index, cardiovascular history, depressive symptomatology, impaired renal function, and APOE ϵ4 genotype) was also investigated. We analyzed the Three-City study data, a French population-based cohort of adults aged 65 years and above who were followed up for 12 years from 1999-2001. Among 8,328 participants selected in the analytical sample (median age, 73.3 years; 60.3% women), 809 (9.3%) presented with diabetes at baseline. Over a median follow-up period of 8.3 years, 836 participants developed incident dementia. Baseline diabetes was associated with a higher risk of dementia: hazard ratio, 1.79 [95% confidence interval, 1.46-2.19]. No effect modification was shown. Diabetes was associated with a higher 12-year absolute risk of dementia and a lower dementia-free life expectancy (e.g., 14.5% [11.2-18.1] versus 8.7% [7.6-10.2], and 13.4 [12.7-14.1] years versus 16.5 [16.0-17.1] years, respectively, for a 70-year-old woman with the highest level of education). These findings support the potential impact of preventing diabetes on reducing dementia risk in older adults, with a 2-3-year higher dementia-free life expectancy for individuals without diabetes, and inform the design of future interventional trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1339-1350
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Cohort studies
  • death
  • dementia
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus


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