Trends in prevalence, incidence, health system use and cost by persons with dementia in Ontario from 2004 and 2013: a population-based study IJPDS (2017) Issue 1, Vol 1:300 Proceedings of the IPDLN Conference (August 2016)

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Susan Bronskill
Jun Guan
Marian Vermeulen
Erika Yates
Ryan Ng
Xuesong Wang
Jennifer Walker
Colleen Maxwell
Published online: Apr 19, 2017



Efforts to enable persons with dementia to remain at home longer, and to reduce use of costly acute care resources, are at the forefront of policy agendas internationally. Foundational to planning appropriate health system supports is the ongoing, comparable and accurate estimation of the prevalence and incidence of dementia across regions, as well as associated patterns of health services use and cost. Our objective was to explore emerging approaches to using population data in dementia research and demonstrate the policy contribution of the resulting new knowledge.

Using population-based health administrative data and an algorithm that was validated using electronic medical records, we developed a series of repeated, cross-sectional cohort studies to examine trends in dementia prevalence, incidence and publicly-funded health service use and costs between 2004/05 and 2013/14 among adults aged 65 years and older in Ontario, Canada. Trends in yearly rates of health service use were assessed using regression models for serially correlated data and compared to a 1:1 matched control group based on age, sex, geographic region and comorbidity level.

Over time, age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of dementia increased by 18.2% (from 63.0 to 74.5 per 1,000 persons; p-value < 0.001) and age- and sex-adjusted incidence decreased slightly (from 18.2 to 17.0 per 1,000 persons; p-value = 0.05). Community-dwelling persons with dementia were more likely than matched controls to be placed in long-term care (11.8% vs. 1.5% in 2013; p<0.001) and use home care (45.8% vs 23.2%; p<0.001) but equally likely to visit family physicians (93.9% vs. 94.8% in 2013) and specialists (87.1% vs. 89.4%). Median costs associated with one year of health system use were $19,468 (interquartile range (IQR) $4,490 to $47,726) for prevalent cases in 2012/13 and $16,549 (IQR $5,070 to $47,899) for incident cases. Long-term care and hospital care accounted for the largest portion of total costs in both groups.

The prevalence of dementia has increased in Ontario, Canada over time and, given slightly declining incidence rates, is likely attributable to improved survival. Surveillance of dementia with health administrative data is a cost-effective tool for describing and monitoring trends in incidence and prevalence over time, and for supporting health system capacity planning. This comparative information is critical to understanding the impact of policy decisions designed to address dementia-related health care needs at a population level.


We used data from UK-Biobank that were linked with Hospital Episode Statistics and Office for National Statistics to assess the relationship between low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and atrial fibrillation (AF). In this study, we applied Mendelian randomization in order to find out whether there is a causal effect of LDL-C to AF.


We used data from the UK Biobank (\~{} 500,000 subjects) which is linked with electronic health records. At baseline (2006-2010), participants from across the UK took part in this project. They have undergone measures, provided blood, urine and saliva samples for future analysis, detailed information about themselves and agreed to have their health followed. Information in relation to the development of atrial fibrillation was derived from a) the enrollment of the participants (self-reported events), b) their hospitalization before and after their recruitment to UK-Biobank (confirmed events from Hospital Episode Statistics) and c) the death certificates [confirmed events from Office for National Statistics]. We also used genetic data from the analyses of the participants' blood sample that have been stored. We used Mendelian randomization to capture the effect of LDL-C to AF. As instruments, we used a genetic predisposition risk score (GPRs) for LDL-C, which was created as a weighted sum of the 18 most significant SNPs related to LDL-C, as there were documented in Global Lipid Consortium, in 18 out of 22 chromosomes. We ran a logistic regression model, using AF as outcome and GPRs as exposure.


Our final sample consisted of 144,092 individuals, for which we have valid information for their genetic data. The AF cases in this sample were 3207, most of which were identified from Hospital Episode Statistics (hospitalization of the participants). From the Mendelian randomization study, from our preliminary results, we found a weak positive relationship between GPRs and AF, when we did not adjust for any covariate [OR per one unit increase of GPRs=1.08, 95% CI= (0.95-1.22)] and results remained practically the same when we adjusted for age and sex [OR=1.09, 95% CI= (0.96-1.24 )].


We observed a weak positive association between LDL-C and AF in this study. This is the first Mendelian randomization approach that focuses on this relationship. More Mendelian randomization studies should be performed in order to identify the causal effect of LDL-C to AF. The use of electronic health records will facilitate the conduction of similar studies.

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