CONTEXT: Recent studies have suggested that a higher body mass index (BMI) and serum urate levels were associated with a lower risk of developing dementia. However, these reverse relationships remain controversial, and whether serum urate and BMI confound each other is not well established.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the independent associations of BMI and urate, as well as their interaction with the risk of developing dementia.
DESIGN AND SETTINGS: We analyzed a cohort of 502 528 individuals derived from the UK Biobank that included people aged 37-73 years for whom BMI and urate were recorded between 2006 and 2010. Dementia was ascertained at follow-up using electronic health records.
RESULTS: During a median of 8.1 years of follow-up, a total of 2138 participants developed dementia. People who were underweight had an increased risk of dementia (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.91, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.24-2.97) compared with people of a healthy weight. However, the risk of dementia continued to fall as weight increased, as those who were overweight and obese were 19% (HR = 0.81, 95%: 0.73-0.90) and 22% (HR = 0.78, 95% CI: 0.68-0.88) were less likely to develop dementia than people of a healthy weight. People in the highest quintile of urate were also associated with a 25% (HR = 0.75, 95% CI: 0.64-0.87) reduction in the risk of developing dementia compared with those who were in the lowest quintile. There was a significant multiplicative interaction between BMI and urate in relation to dementia (P for interaction = 0.004), and obesity strengthens the protective effect of serum urate on the risk of dementia.
CONCLUSION: Both BMI and urate are independent predictors of dementia, and there are inverse monotonic and dose-response associations of BMI and urate with dementia.