INTRODUCTION: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with an increased risk of dementia. Individual epidemiological studies have controlled for several confounders of the relationship between PTSD and increased dementia risk, yet particular risk factors underlying this relationship have not been determined. This systematic review protocol aims to identify risk and protective factors of dementia among adults with PTSD.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will conduct an electronic search of the databases: PubMed, CINAHL, PsychINFO, The Cochrane Library, Scopus and ProQuest Dissertation and Theses Global. After screening the studies, quantitative synthesis will be performed, if possible. Otherwise, a narrative synthesis will be performed. We will include randomised controlled trials and other types of research evidence including longitudinal cohort studies. Strength of evidence will be assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations method. Examples of variables that will be extracted are: year of PTSD diagnosis, comorbid conditions, health behaviours, pharmacological treatments and year of mild cognitive impairment or dementia diagnosis. We developed this systematic review protocol according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols 2015 statement.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The proposed study will not collect individual-level data and, therefore, does not require ethical approval. Results of this study will provide current evidence on risk and protective factors of dementia in adults with PTSD. Findings will be disseminated in peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.


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Published in BMJ Open, v. 10, issue 6, p. 1-5.

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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The work was supported by the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) grant (#5K12DA035150) from the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).