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DHEA-S plasma levels and incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

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SUMMARY: Cross-sectional studies controlling for age and gender reported a relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and low DHEA-S plasma levels. This study supports the role of DHEA-S as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

Hillen T, Lun A, Reischies FM, Borchelt M, Steinhagen-Thiessen E, Schaub RT. Biol Psychiatry 2000 Jan 15;47(2):161-3. Department of Internal Medicine-Geriatrics, Medical Faculty, Humboldt University Berlin/Charite, Germany.

BACKGROUND: Cross-sectional studies controlling for age and gender reported a relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and low dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S) plasma levels. Prospective data with sufficient control for confounding factors are lacking.

METHODS: A nested case-control study examined baseline DHEA-S in participants of the Berlin Aging Study. Cases (n = 14) developed dementia of the Alzheimer type within 3 years. Control group A (n = 14) was matched for gender, age, multimorbidity, and immobility. Control group B (n = 13) was matched for gender and age and comprised participants free from multimorbidity, immobility, multimedication, need of help, incontinence, visual impairment, hearing impairment, and depression.

RESULTS: The mean plasma DHEA-S concentration of case subjects was 1.02 +/- 0.61 mumol/L. Both control groups had higher mean DEHA-S levels, in control group A, it was 1.89 +/- 1.24 mumol/L (p = .012) and in control group B 1.70 +/- 1.38 mumol/L (p = .093).

CONCLUSIONS: This population-based prospective study supports the role of DHEA-S as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

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