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Risk and Resiliency for Dementia: Comparison of Male and Female Veterans

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[Technical Report, Final Report]

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The goal of this project is to identify key factors linked with risk and resiliency for cognitive impairment anddementia in older female veterans. Our overall hypothesis is that older female veterans will have a unique set of risks forcognitive impairment and dementia, with additive increases in risk for factors related to military service, such as posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD and traumatic brain injury TBI. We created a database by extracting Veterans HealthAdministration data from all older veteran women and studied these factors to increase our understanding of risk andresiliency in veterans. In a study of older female veterans, we found 10year prevalence of cognitive impairment diagnosesincluding dementia was 10 and showed important medical and psychiatric risk factors for these diagnoses are also veryprevalent, which emphasizes a unique population with specific healthcare burdens. In another study of veteran women, wefound militaryrelated risk factors, i.e., PTSD, TBI, and depression increased dementia risk by 5080 when occurring alone,and 2fold when occurring together. We also found a history of military sexual trauma is common in veteran women and isassociated with several medical and psychiatric diagnoses affecting health and functioning. We found veteran women withalcohol use disorder AUD had a 3fold increase in dementia risk. In a veteran study of sex differences in dementia risk, wefound that dementia risk was slightly higher in women than men. These results have been written into five manuscripts fourare published and one is under review. This project contributes key insights into risk factors linked with risk and resiliency forcognitive impairment and dementia in older women veterans, and identify who may benefit from interventions andtreatment for dementia and its prevention.


Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Psychology

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[A, Approved For Public Release]