Low serum magnesium is associated with incident dementia in the ARIC-NCS cohort

Aniqa B. Alam, Pamela L. Lutsey, Rebecca F. Gottesman, Adrienne Tin, Alvaro Alonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Higher serum magnesium is associated with lower risk of multiple morbidities, including diabetes, stroke, and atrial fibrillation, but its potential neuroprotective properties have also been gaining traction in cognitive function and decline research. We studied 12,040 participants presumed free of dementia in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Serum magnesium was measured in fasting blood samples collected in 1990–1992. Dementia status was ascertained through cognitive examinations in 2011–2013, 2016–2017, and 2018–2019, along with informant interviews and indicators of dementia-related hospitalization events and death. Participants’ cognitive functioning capabilities were assessed up to five times between 1990–1992 and 2018–2019. The cognitive function of participants who did not attend follow-up study visits was imputed to account for attrition. We identified 2519 cases of dementia over a median follow-up period of 24.2 years. The lowest quintile of serum magnesium was associated with a 24% higher rate of incident dementia compared to those in the highest quintile of magnesium (HR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.07, 1.44). No relationship was found between serum magnesium and cognitive decline in any cognitive domain. Low midlife serum magnesium is associated with increased risk of incident dementia, but does not appear to impact rates of cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3074
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 9 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study was carried out as a collaborative study, supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts (HHSN268201700004I, HHSN268201700003I, HHSN268201700002I, HHSN268201700005I, HHSN268201700001I). Neurocognitive data were collected by U01 2U01HL096917, 2U01HL096899, 2U01HL096814, 2U01HL096902, 2U01HL096812 from the NIH (NHLBI, NINDS, NIA and NIDCD), and with previous brain MRI examinations funded by R01-HL70825 from the NHLBI. Additional support was provided by the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number K24HL148521. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cognitive decline
  • Dementia
  • Magnesium

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Low serum magnesium is associated with incident dementia in the ARIC-NCS cohort'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this