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Monday, January 25, 2021

Late Payments, Credit Scores May Predict Dementia

Judy George
MedPage Today
Originally posted 30 Nov 20

Problems paying bills and managing personal finances were evident years before a dementia diagnosis, retrospective data showed.

As early as 6 years before they were diagnosed with dementia, people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias were more likely to miss credit account payments than their peers without dementia (7.7% vs 7.3%; absolute difference 0.4 percentage points, 95% CI 0.07-0.70), reported Lauren Hersch Nicholas, PhD, MPP, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and co-authors.

They also were more likely to develop subprime credit scores 2.5 years before their dementia diagnosis (8.5% vs 8.1%; absolute difference 0.38 percentage points, 95% CI 0.04-0.72), the researchers wrote in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Higher payment delinquency and subprime credit rates persisted for at least 3.5 years after a dementia diagnosis.

"Our study provides the first large-scale evidence of the financial symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias using administrative financial records," Nicholas said.

"These results are important because they highlight a new source of data -- consumer credit reports -- that can help detect early signs of Alzheimer's disease," she told MedPage Today. "While doctors have long believed that dementia presents in the checkbook, our study helps show that these financial symptoms are common and span years before and after diagnosis, suggesting unmet need for assistance managing money."