Background: Psychiatric disorders have been associated with higher risk for future dementia. Understanding how pre-dementia psychiatric disorders (PDPD) relate to established dementia genetic risks has implications for dementia prevention. Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we investigated the relationships between polygenic risk scores for Alzheimer's disease (AD PRS), PDPD, alcohol use disorder (AUD), and subsequent dementia in the UK Biobank (UKB) and tested whether the relationships are consistent with different causal models. Findings: Among 502,408 participants, 9352 had dementia. As expected, AD PRS was associated with greater risk for dementia (odds ratio (OR) 1.62, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.59–1.65). A total of 94,237 participants had PDPD, of whom 2.6% (n = 2519) developed subsequent dementia, compared to 1.7% (n = 6833) of 407,871 participants without PDPD. Accordingly, PDPD were associated with 73% greater risk of incident dementia (OR 1.73, 1.65–1.83). Among dementia subtypes, the risk increase was 1.5-fold for AD (n = 3365) (OR 1.46, 1.34–1.59) and 2-fold for vascular dementia (VaD, n = 1823) (OR 2.08, 1.87–2.32). Our data indicated that PDPD were neither a dementia prodrome nor a mediator for AD PRS. Shared factors for both PDPD and dementia likely substantially account for the observed association, while a causal role of PDPD in dementia could not be excluded. AUD could be one of the shared causes for PDPD and dementia. Interpretation: Psychiatric diagnoses were associated with subsequent dementia in UKB participants, and the association is orthogonal to established dementia genetic risks. Investigating shared causes for psychiatric disorders and dementia would shed light on this dementia pathway. Funding: US NIH (K08AG054727).

Original languageEnglish
Article number104978
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Causal modelling
  • Dementia
  • Polygenic risks for dementia
  • Psychiatric disorders


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