Dementia and Traffic Accidents: A Danish Register-Based Cohort Study

Jindong Ding Petersen, Volkert Siersma, Connie Thurøe Nielsen, Mikkel Vass, Frans Boch Waldorff

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BACKGROUND: As a consequence of a rapid growth of an ageing population, more people with dementia are expected on the roads. Little is known about whether these people are at increased risk of road traffic-related accidents.

OBJECTIVE: Our study aims to investigate the risk of road traffic-related accidents for people aged 65 years or older with a diagnosis of dementia in Denmark.

METHODS: We will conduct a nationwide population-based cohort study consisting of Danish people aged 65 or older living in Denmark as of January 1, 2008. The cohort is followed for 7 years (2008-2014). Individual's personal data are available in Danish registers and can be linked using a unique personal identification number. A person is identified with dementia if the person meets at least one of the following criteria: (1) a diagnosis of the disease in the Danish National Patient Register or in the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register, and/or (2) at least one dementia diagnosis-related drug prescription registration in the Danish National Prescription Registry. Police-, hospital-, and emergency room-reported road traffic-related accidents occurred within the study follow-up are defined as the study outcome. Cox proportional hazard regression models are used for the main analysis.

RESULTS: Our study protocol has 3 phases including data collection, data analysis, and reporting. The first phase of register-based data collection of 853,228 individual's personal information was completed in August, 2016. The next phase is data analysis, which is expected to be finished before December 2016, and thereafter writing publications based on the findings. The study started in January 2016 and will end in December 2018.

DISCUSSION: This study covers the entire elderly population of Denmark, and thereby will avoid selection bias due to nonparticipation and loss to follow-up. Furthermore, this ensures that the study results are reliable and generalizable. However, underreporting of traffic-related accidents may occur, which will limit estimation of absolute risks.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere191
JournalJ M I R Research Protocols
Issue number3
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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