A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry has found that people who are shorter have an increased risk of dying with dementia – with this risk found to be stronger in men.
The authors emphasised that being short does not cause dementia, but how tall a person is could inform the study of possible risk factors for dementia.
Responding to this, Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
‘The data suggests that very short people are at increased risk of dying with dementia. While the study was robust and detailed, because a very small number of people actually had dementia when they died it is very difficult to conclude that height is one of the most important risk factors for dementia.
‘Future work in this area needs to understand exactly which factors that contribute to our height are important – whether that be childhood nutrition or genetic inheritance – and use that information to help us understand more about how dementia develops.
‘Once fully grown there is nothing we can do to change our height, however we do know that we may be able to reduce our risk of dementia by making changes to our lifestyle. Not smoking, taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet are all things that could improve our brain health.’