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Dementia risk higher in herpes zoster ophthalmicus patients

24 Nov 2017
The government will focus on building "community networks" to support those with dementia instead.

The risk of subsequent dementia is significantly higher in patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), a recent study from Taiwan has shown.

After retrieving the records from the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2005, researchers followed 846 HZO patients (mean age 62.2±12.5 years) for 5 years and assessed the development of dementia. Cox proportional hazards analysis was performed to determine the risk of dementia in HZO patients compared to 2,538 non-HZO controls (mean age 61.4±13.3 years) in the comparison group.

Over the 5-year follow-up, the incidence rate of dementia in the entire study population was 5.24 per 1,000 person-years. Respective incidence rates for the HZO and control groups were 10.15 and 3.61 per 1,000 person-years, yielding in significantly different dementia-free accumulated survival rates between the groups (p<0.001).

After adjusting for covariates like age, sex and comorbidities, those with HZO were found to be at a significantly higher risk of dementia than controls (hazard ratio [HR], 2.97; 95 percent CI, 1.90 to 4.67).

To account for potential surveillance bias, the research team excluded four patients who were diagnosed with dementia within 2 months of their index date. Subsequent analysis showed the same elevated dementia risk for HZO patients (crude HR, 2.82; 1.80 to 4.41).

Subgroup analysis showed that the trend was independent of sex, as both male (HR, 3.41; 1.78 to 6.53) and female (HR, 2.98; 1.54 to 5.77) HZO patients had higher risk of dementia compared to controls.

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