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Open Access Research article

Risk factors for dementia in the epidemiological study of Munguialde County (Basque Country-Spain)

Manuel Fernández Martínez1*, Jessica Castro Flores2, Susana Pérez de las Heras3, Aitziber Mandaluniz Lekumberri4, María Gordejuela Menocal4 and Juan José Zarranz Imirizaldu1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Hospital de Cruces, Baracaldo, Vizcaya, Spain

2 Department of Neurology, Hospital de Cruces, BBVA-Carolina Foundation Grant. Baracaldo, Vizcaya, Spain

3 Llodio Health Centre, OROITU Medical Day Care Centre, Getxo, Vizcaya, Spain

4 San Jose Etxealai Foundation, Munguia, Vizcaya, Spain

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BMC Neurology 2008, 8:39  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-8-39

Published: 15 October 2008



Prevalence of degenerative dementias and dementias associated with cerebrovascular disease is increasing. Dementia is one of the most significant public health problem. In recent years, the role of vascular risk factors (hypertension, diabetes mellitus and hypercholesterolemia) and depression has been evaluated.

The incidence of dementia and risk factors has not been fully investigated in Spain. The aim of this study was to identify the risk factors for dementia, Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VD) in elderly people in Munguialde County (Spain).


A two phase, door-to-door populational study was performed. Demographic variables and the presence of vascular risk factors and depression were recorded. The MMSE, the DSM-IV and the conventional criteria for AD and VD were used in the evaluation. The odds ratio for each risk factor was calculated by logistic regression analysis.


1756 healthy subjects and 175 patients with dementia participated in the study. Of these, 133 had AD, 15 VD and the remainder other dementias. The risk factors for dementia and AD were female sex (OR = 1.67 and 1.97, respectively); age (OR = 1.14 and 1.15); stroke (OR = 7.84 and 3); and depression (OR = 53.08 and 3.19). Stroke was the only risk factor for VD (OR = 119).


Greater age, female sex, stroke and depression increase the risk of suffering dementia, AD and VD. The relationship between depression, vascular risk factors and dementia has clear public health implications. Prevention and early treatment of vascular risk factors and depression may have an important impact in lowering the risk of dementia and could modify the natural history of the disease.