Rheumatoid Arthritis Was Negatively Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease: A Population-Based Case-Control Study

Citation: Kao L-T, Kang J-H, Lin H-C, Huang C-C, Lee H-C, Chung S-D (2016) Rheumatoid Arthritis Was Negatively Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease: A Population-Based Case-Control Study. PLoS ONE 11(12): e0168106. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168106
Published: December 20, 2016

Some of the prior literature investigated the potential association between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) because these two diseases may share similar inflammatory mechanisms. Nevertheless, to date, findings of the previous literature are still controversial, and some methodological limitations were observed in those studies. The aim of this case-control study was to investigate the relationship between prior RA and AD using a large population-based dataset. This study used the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2005. We included 2271 patients with AD who had received prescriptions for acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) as cases and 6813 patients without AD as controls in this study. In addition, we performed a conditional logistic regression to examine the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for prior RA between cases and controls. The study found that 330 (3.63%) of the total sampled patients had an RA diagnosis before the index date. Additionally, prior RA was found in 60 (2.64%) cases and in 270 (3.96%) controls. The conditional logistic regression analysis showed that the crude OR of prior RA for cases was 0.66 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.49~0.87) compared to controls. After adjusting for patients’ geographic location, urbanization level, and comorbidities, the adjusted OR of prior RA for patients with AD was 0.73 (95% CI: 0.55~0.98) compared to those without AD. We concluded that there was an inverse association between prior RA and AD even after adjusting for potential confounders.


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