This site is intended for UK healthcare professionals
Medscape UK Univadis Logo
Medscape UK Univadis Logo
Clinical Summary

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Raises Risk of Dementia


  • This meta-analysis found that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a strong and potentially modifiable risk factor for all-cause dementia.

Why this matters

  • Findings add to a growing body of evidence that dementia can sometimes be prevented by addressing risk factors throughout an individual's life course.
  • Future studies are needed to investigate the prophylactic potential of treating PTSD and its contribution in preventing or delaying the onset of dementia.

Study design

  • Meta-analysis of 10 longitudinal studies evaluating the association between PTSD and dementia.
  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • Pooled results from 8 studies (n=1,693,678) showed that PTSD significantly increased the risk of all-cause dementia (HR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.43-1.81; P<.001; I2, 85.8%).
  • In subgroup analyses, the risk was higher in the general population (n=787,782; pooled HR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.03-4.33; P<.001; I2, 91.2%) than in veterans (n=905,896; pooled HR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.46-1.78; P<.001; I2, 80.9%).
  • The association between PTSD and all-cause dementia remained significant after excluding studies with a high risk of bias (7 studies; n=1,684,928; HR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.39-1.73; P<.001; I2, 83.9%).


  • High heterogeneity among included studies.
  • All included studies were observational, and the majority were retrospective.

Günak MM, Billings J, Carratu E, Marchant NL, Favarato G, Orgeta V. Post-traumatic stress disorder as a risk factor for dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Psychiatry. 2020 Sep 15 [Epub ahead of print]:1-9. doi: 10.1192/bjp.2020.150. PMID: 32933591View abstract 

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.