Multidimensional poverty is associated with dementia among adults in Afghanistan

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Journal Article

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Afghanistan; Dementia; Multidimensional poverty; Rural areas; Social and environmental determinants of health


BACKGROUND: Multidimensional poverty is associated with dementia, but no evidence is available for countries in conflict. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in two provinces of Afghanistan between February 15th 2022 and April 20th 2022 among adults age 50 and older. Multidimensional poverty included six dimensions of well-being and 16 indicators of deprivation. The Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale measured dementia. Poverty between adults with and without dementia was examined, adjusting for sex. Associations between dementia and poverty were investigated using multivariate regression model. FINDINGS: Of the 478 adults included, 89 (52.7%) had mild, and 25 (14.8%) had moderate to severe dementia. More women than men had mild (52.7% vs 33.3%) and moderate-to-severe dementia (14.8% vs 5.8%). Approximately 33.9% adults with mild and 51.2% adults with moderate-to-severe dementia were found to be deprived in four or more dimensions compared to 21.8% without dementia. The difference in four dimensions of multidimensional poverty between adults with mild and moderate-to-severe dementia and adults without dementia was respectively 59.5% and 152.88%. Education, employment, health, and living conditions were the main contributors to the adjusted poverty head count ratio. Multidimensional poverty in four or five dimensions was strongly associated with dementia among older adults particularly over 70 years old (odds ratio [OR], 17.38; 95% CI, 2.22-135.63), with greater odds for older women overall (OR, 2.69; 95% CI, 1.76-4.11). INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that early improvement in social determinants of health through targeted structural policies may lower dementia risk later in life. Specifically, better access to free, quality education, healthcare, and basic living standard together with employment opportunities could reduce risk of dementia. FUNDING: The present study was funded by a grant from the Alzheimer Association (AARG-NTF-21-851241).


Clinical Research and Leadership