Dementia is a condition that affects thinking, memory and ability to perform daily activities. Now, a new study has revealed people with low bone density may be more likely to get dementia than those with higher bone density.

The study published in the American Academy of Neurology said that people with low bone density were 42% more at risk of developing dementia than those with higher bone density.

"Low bone density and dementia are two conditions that commonly affect older people simultaneously, especially as bone loss often increases due to physical inactivity and poor nutrition during dementia," Mohammad Arfan Ikram, one of the researchers who led the study, said.

"However, little is known about bone loss that occurs in the period leading up to dementia. Our study found that bone loss indeed already occurs before dementia and thus is linked to a higher risk of dementia," Ikram added.

The study determined how dementia risk was affected by bone mineral density by evaluating 3,651 people in the Netherlands, who were at an average age of 72.

The group did not have dementia at the start of the study. The participants were examined every four to five years with bone scans and tests for dementia. After an average of 11 years, 688 people developed dementia.

"Out of 1,211 people who had the lowest total body bone density, 90 of them developed dementia within 10 years, while compared to 57 of the 1,211 people with the highest bone density," the study reveals.

The results were found after adjusting the factors such as age, sex, education, other illnesses, medication use, and a family history of dementia.

"Our research has found a link between bone loss and dementia, but further studies are needed to better understand this connection between bone density and memory loss. It's possible that bone loss may occur already in the earliest phases of dementia, years before any clinical symptoms manifest themselves. If that were the case, bone loss could be an indicator of risk for dementia and people with bone loss could be targeted for screening and improved care," Ikram said.

Although the study proves an association between low bone density and memory loss, it does not prove that low bone density causes dementia.

The study was also limited to people of European origin, who were above the age of 70. Therefore, the results may differ in people from other races, and ethnicities, and among younger age groups.