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A systematic review of the cost-effectiveness of community and population interventions to reduce the modifiable risk factors for dementia.

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Walsh, Sebastian 
Brain, Jacob 
Mukadam, Naaheed 
Anderson, Robert 
Greene, Leanne 


Dementia is a leading global cause of morbidity and mortality. Evidence suggests that tackling modifiable lifecourse risk factors could prevent or delay a significant proportion of cases. Population- and community-based approaches change societal conditions such that everyone across a given community is more likely to live more healthily. We systematically reviewed economic studies of population- and community-based interventions to reduce modifiable lifecourse risk factors for dementia. We searched Medline, EMBASE, Web of Science, CINAHL, PsycInfo, Scopus, Econlit, ERIC, the British Education Index, and Google, on 03/03/2022. We included cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit, and cost-utility studies, provided that the direct outcome of the intervention was a modifiable risk factor for dementia, and was measured empirically. Quality appraisal was completed using the Consensus on Health Economic Criteria checklist. A narrative synthesis was performed. We included 45 studies, from 22,749 records identified. Included studies targeted smoking (n = 15), education (n = 10), physical inactivity (n = 9), obesity (n = 5), air pollution (n = 2), traumatic brain injury (n = 1), and multiple risk factors (n = 3). Intervention designs included changing the physical/food environment (n = 13), mass media programmes (n = 11), reducing financial barriers or increasing resources (n = 10), whole-community approaches (n = 6), and legislative change (n = 3). Overall, interventions were highly cost-effective and/or cost-saving, particularly those targeting smoking, educational attainment, and physical inactivity. Effects were observed in high- (e.g. USA and UK) and low- and middle-income (e.g. Mexico, Tanzania, Thailand) countries. Further research into the direct effects of targeting these risk factors on future dementia prevalence will have important economic, social and policy implications.



Cost-effectiveness, Dementia, Population interventions, Prevention, Humans, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Risk Factors, Obesity, Health Promotion, Dementia

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Elsevier BV
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (NIHR302276)