What is the mechanism by which thyroid hormone increases dementia risk? Elizabeth Tracey reports


High blood pressure, high cholesterol…some things that increase the risk for dementia make sense. What about excess thyroid hormone, or thyrotoxicosis, as shown in a recent Johns Hopkins study? Jennifer Mammen, an endocrinologist and one of the study’s authors, says one mechanism makes sense.

For people with thyrotoxicosis so a 40% increase in risk increase in risk. Risk is a little bit age dependent, flattened out as people got over the age of 75. Part of what I think is happening is excess thyroid hormone probably doesn't cause dementia, I think it's probably an accelerant for dementia. Thyroid hormone increases your metabolic rate and we know that other things that increase metabolism are also risk factors for dementia like diabetes.   :30

Mammen says if you’re taking thyroid hormone it’s worth measuring hormone levels on occasion just to make sure they’re not too high. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.