Elderly gout patients are between 17 and 20 percent likelier than their peers to suffer from dementia, according to research based on 1.23 million Medicare beneficiaries presented in Amsterdam on June 15 at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology.

“Our study found a considerable increased risk of dementia associated with gout in the
elderly,” said study author Jasvinder Singh, of University of Alabama at Birmingham, in the EULAR news release. “Further study is needed to explore these relationships and understand the pathogenic pathways involved in this increased risk.”

Of the 1.23 million elderly people on Medicare in the study, 65,325 had dementia, a condition the National Institute on Aging defines as a loss of cognitive and behavioral function which interferes with daily life.

“Future studies need to understand the pathogenic pathways involved in this increased risk,” Singh and colleagues wrote.