Background: The biological action of uric acid (UA) in humans is controversial. UA is considered an antioxidant compound, but preclinical evidence suggests a proinflammatory action. Epidemiological studies found that hyperuricemia is associated with conditions leading to dementia. Our aim is to investigate the relationship between UA levels and dementia in older persons.
Methods: Cross-sectional study performed in 1,016 community-dwelling older persons participating in the InCHIANTI study. Participants underwent determination of circulating UA levels and neuropsychological evaluation. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to estimate the probability of participants belonging to the highest and middle UA tertile to be affected by dementia compared to those in the lowest tertile.
Results: Demented persons had higher UA levels (p = 0.001) and the prevalence of persons affected by dementia increased across UA tertiles (p < 0.0001). Independent of several confounders, persons belonging to the highest UA tertile had a threefold (OR = 3.32; 95% CI: 1.06-10.42) higher probability to suffer from a dementia syndrome while those in the middle UA tertile tended to have a higher probability of being demented compared to those in the lowest tertile.
Conclusion: In a population-based sample, high circulating UA levels are associated with an increased likelihood to be affected by a dementia syndrome.