Data from 1.1 million young Swedish men (conscription information taken at age 18) has shown that those with poorer cardiovascular fitness were 2.5 times more likely to develop early-onset dementia later in life and 3.5 times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, while those with a lower IQ had a 4 times greater risk of early dementia and a threefold greater risk of MCI. A combination of both poor cardiovascular fitness and low IQ entailed a more than 7 times greater risk of early-onset dementia, and more than 8 times greater risk of MCI.
The increased risk remained even when controlled for other risk factors, such as heredity, medical history, and social-economic circumstances.
The development of early-onset dementia was taken from national disease registries. During the study period, a total of 660 men were diagnosed with early-onset dementia.
A further study of this database, taken from 488,484 men, of whom 487 developed early-onset dementia (at a median age of 54), found nine risk factors for early-onset dementia that together accounted for 68% of the attributable risk. These factors were alcohol intoxication, stroke, use of antipsychotics, depression, father's dementia, drug intoxication other than alcohol, low cognitive function at age 18, low stature at age 18, and high blood pressure at age 18.
(2014). Cardiovascular and cognitive fitness at age 18 and risk of early-onset dementia.
(2013). Risk factors in late adolescence for young-onset dementia in men: A nationwide cohort study.
JAMA Internal Medicine. 173(17), 1612 - 1618.