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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Does parity matter in women's risk of dementia? A COSMIC collaboration cohort study.

  • Author(s): Bae, Jong Bin
  • Lipnicki, Darren M
  • Han, Ji Won
  • Sachdev, Perminder S
  • Kim, Tae Hui
  • Kwak, Kyung Phil
  • Kim, Bong Jo
  • Kim, Shin Gyeom
  • Kim, Jeong Lan
  • Moon, Seok Woo
  • Park, Joon Hyuk
  • Ryu, Seung-Ho
  • Youn, Jong Chul
  • Lee, Dong Young
  • Lee, Dong Woo
  • Lee, Seok Bum
  • Lee, Jung Jae
  • Jhoo, Jin Hyeong
  • Llibre-Rodriguez, Juan J
  • Llibre-Guerra, Jorge J
  • Valhuerdi-Cepero, Adolfo J
  • Ritchie, Karen
  • Ancelin, Marie-Laure
  • Carriere, Isabelle
  • Skoog, Ingmar
  • Najar, Jenna
  • Sterner, Therese Rydberg
  • Scarmeas, Nikolaos
  • Yannakoulia, Mary
  • Dardiotis, Efthimios
  • Meguro, Kenichi
  • Kasai, Mari
  • Nakamura, Kei
  • Riedel-Heller, Steffi
  • Roehr, Susanne
  • Pabst, Alexander
  • van Boxtel, Martin
  • Köhler, Sebastian
  • Ding, Ding
  • Zhao, Qianhua
  • Liang, Xiaoniu
  • Scazufca, Marcia
  • Lobo, Antonio
  • De-la-Cámara, Concepción
  • Lobo, Elena
  • Kim, Ki Woong
  • for Cohort Studies of Memory in an International Consortium (COSMIC)
  • et al.


Dementia shows sex difference in its epidemiology. Childbirth, a distinctive experience of women, is associated with the risk for various diseases. However, its association with the risk of dementia in women has rarely been studied.


We harmonized and pooled baseline data from 11 population-based cohorts from 11 countries over 3 continents, including 14,792 women aged 60 years or older. We investigated the association between parity and the risk of dementia using logistic regression models that adjusted for age, educational level, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and cohort, with additional analyses by region and dementia subtype.


Across all cohorts, grand multiparous (5 or more childbirths) women had a 47% greater risk of dementia than primiparous (1 childbirth) women (odds ratio [OR] = 1.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.10-1.94), while nulliparous (no childbirth) women and women with 2 to 4 childbirths showed a comparable dementia risk to primiparous women. However, there were differences associated with region and dementia subtype. Compared to women with 1 to 4 childbirths, grand multiparous women showed a higher risk of dementia in Europe (OR = 2.99, 95% CI = 1.38-6.47) and Latin America (OR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.04-2.12), while nulliparous women showed a higher dementia risk in Asia (OR = 2.15, 95% CI = 1.33-3.47). Grand multiparity was associated with 6.9-fold higher risk of vascular dementia in Europe (OR = 6.86, 95% CI = 1.81-26.08), whereas nulliparity was associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer disease (OR = 1.91, 95% CI 1.07-3.39) and non-Alzheimer non-vascular dementia (OR = 3.47, 95% CI = 1.44-8.35) in Asia.


Parity is associated with women's risk of dementia, though this is not uniform across regions and dementia subtypes.

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