Increasing evidence suggests a positive association between autoimmune disorders and the subsequent risk of dementia, supporting the idea that neuroinflammation is a major contributor to dementia. However, whether or not adults with vitiligo have an increased risk of dementia remains unclear. We aimed to investigate the association between vitiligo and the subsequent risk of dementia. A total of 1320 patients with vitiligo and 5280 matched controls were identified from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database between 1998 and 2011. Dementia was diagnosed by board-certificated psychiatrists or neurologists in the follow-up period. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) after controlling for age, sex, income-related monthly premium, residence and comorbidities associated with dementia. The incidence rate of dementia (per 100 000 person-years) was 502.8 among patients with vitiligo and 101.9 among the controls. Patients with vitiligo were more likely to develop any type of dementia (aHR, 5.30; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.30–8.51), Alzheimer’s disease (aHR, 12.22; 95% CI, 3.71–40.28) and vascular dementia (aHR, 3.99; 95% CI, 1.31–12.15) compared with the controls. In conclusion, middle-aged and old patients with vitiligo are more likely to develop dementia compared with those without vitiligo. This novel finding reminds physicians to be more careful about signs of dementia when managing patients with vitiligo and provides the basis for further investigations that clarify the underlying mechanisms.
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