The Canadian Study of Health and Aging: risk factors for Alzheimer's disease in Canada

Neurology. 1994 Nov;44(11):2073-80. doi: 10.1212/wnl.44.11.2073.


Objective: To study risk factors for Alzheimer's disease (AD) based on data from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging.

Design: Population-based case-control study.

Setting: Communities and institutions in 10 Canadian provinces.

Participants: Two hundred fifty-eight cases clinically diagnosed with probable AD, with onset of symptoms within 3 years of diagnosis, and 535 controls, frequency matched on age group, study center, and residence in community or institution, clinically confirmed to be cognitively normal.

Main outcome measure: Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using unconditional logistic regression for previously hypothesized and potential risk factors for AD.

Results: The OR for family history of dementia was significantly elevated (2.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.53 to 4.51) and increased with the number of relatives with dementia. Those with less education were at higher risk of AD, with an OR of 4.00 (95% CI, 2.49 to 6.43) for those with 0 to 6 years, in comparison with those with 10 or more years. Head injury achieved borderline significance. A history of arthritis resulted in a low risk of AD (OR = 0.54; 95% CI, 0.36 to 0.81), as did a history of use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Initial analyses showed an increased risk of AD for occupational exposure to glues as well as to pesticides and fertilizers; the increased risk was greater in those with less education.

Conclusion: This study confirmed a number of previously reported risk factors for AD, but provided little support for others. A new finding was an increased risk for those with occupational exposure to glues as well as pesticides and fertilizers, but this needs further study.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Aluminum / adverse effects
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Aluminum