Midlife and late-life blood pressure and vascular dementia: a population based observational study IJPDS (2017) Issue 1, Vol 1:365 Proceedings of the IPDLN Conference (August 2016)

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Mingkai Peng
Guanmin Chen
Karen Tange
Norman Campbell
Eric Smith
Peter Faris
Hude Quan



Hypertension and dementia are common disorders in the elderly. The objective of this study is to investigate the association of blood pressure in midlife and late life with the risk of vascular dementia (VaD) using United Kingdom (UK) primary care data.

We conducted a retrospective population-based cohort study using The Health Improvement Network (THIN). Two independent study cohorts were created: 1) midlife: individuals aged 60 to 65 with at least 1 blood pressure measurement between the age of 60 to 65; 2) late-life: individuals aged 70 to 75 with at least 1 blood pressure measurements between the age of 70 to 75. The baseline blood pressure for midlife and late-life cohort were categorized into four levels: normal, prehypertension, stage 1, and stage 2 hypertension. Cases of VaD and other risk factors, such as stroke, diabetes, were identified using the Read codes listed in the Quality and Outcome Framework- National Health Science (QOF-NHS). Descriptive statistics were used to compare the demographics and clinical conditions for patients in different blood pressure levels. we used the proportional subdistribution hazard model was used to estimate the association between blood pressure levels with risk of VaD while treating death as a competing risk. Multiple imputation method was used to impute the missing values for the variables of smoking status and Body mass index (BMI) categories

In total, there were 265 897 patients (65.1% with stage 1 and 2 hypertension) in the midlife and 211 909 patients (76.3% with stage 1 and 2 hypertension) in the late life cohort, respectively. For midlife cohort, the risk of VaD increased with higher BP levels after adjusting the potential risk confounding factors with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.15(95% confidence interval 0.88, 1.51) for prehypertension, 1.32(1.01, 1.73) for stage 1 hypertension, 1.33(1.01, 1.73) for stage 2 hypertension; for late-life cohort, after adjusting all the confounding factors, there was no statistically significant association between the risk of VaD and BP levels (HR 1.09 [95% confidence interval 0.86, 1.39] for prehypertension, 1.17(0.92, 1.48) for stage 1 hypertension, and 1.11(0.88, 1.42) for stage 2 hypertension).

our study show high blood pressure in midlife is a significant risk for vascular dementia in the late-life. Given the strength and consistency of this evidence, greater effort should be placed for early diagnosis of hypertension and tight control of blood pressure for hypertensive patients in the prevention of vascular dementia.


Canada has established a pan-Canadian cohort with over 300,000 volunteer participants aged 35-69, to support research on cancer and chronic disease. A key feature of the cohort is that participants have consented to link their cohort data with administrative datasets. This prospective cohort, representing nearly 1 in 50 Canadians in this age range will be followed for multiple decades, building a platform that supports access to timely, high-quality, data related to cancer and other chronic diseases, which will enable researchers to answer complex system questions and achieve better health outcomes for Canadians.


A baseline ``core'' questionnaire was administered to participants capturing information on socio-demographics, economic characteristics, personal and familial history of diseases and lifestyle and health behaviours. A re-contact questionnaire is planned for 2016 to update baseline information and add depth to specific areas and capture changes over time. To realize the full potential for this cohort to support transformative research it is crucial to be able to link this data with other provincial datasets, such as cancer registries, hospital records and mortality data.

For the most part, health data in Canada resides under the purview of health providers and, or government custodians in each of the provinces and territories. As such, an innovative federated data linkage strategy is required to link cohort data with health administrative data in each regions, adhering to existing privacy and regulatory requirements, while providing central access for researchers.


To date, 40% of all cohort participants have been linked with priority provincial administrative data. Each province has its own unique data linkage challenges, requiring unique customized solutions. By the end of 2017 we anticipate that the number of participants who will have had their data linked will increase to nearly 70%. The federated data linkage strategy and infrastructure offer an innovative approach that others can learn from; however to realize the full potential of the cohort and support transformative research partnerships and collaborations are required.


Efforts to organize resources and establish systems for data linkage and optimize data sharing and utilization in Canada are underway and include discussions with the provincial privacy commissioners, national and provincial and territorial data custodians and other thought leaders in the field.

Article Details

How to Cite
Peng, M., Chen, G., Tange, K., Campbell, N., Smith, E., Faris, P. and Quan, H. (2017) “Midlife and late-life blood pressure and vascular dementia: a population based observational study: IJPDS (2017) Issue 1, Vol 1:365 Proceedings of the IPDLN Conference (August 2016)”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 1(1). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v1i1.387.

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