Calcium supplements are tied to an increased risk of dementia in senior women who have had a stroke, researchers have found.

Given the problem of osteoporosis in the elderly, physicians often recommend calcium supplements. However, study results indicated that women treated with calcium supplements were twice as likely to develop dementia than women who did not take supplements. Researchers later found this risk was true only for women with cerebrovascular disease.

Women with a history of stroke who took supplements had nearly seven times the increased risk of developing dementia than women with a history of stroke who did not take the supplements, they said.

The Swedish researchers evaluated 700 women between ages 70 and 92 years old over five years who did not have dementia at the onset of the study.

While the correlation is notable, there is no assumption that calcium supplements cause dementia, said Silke Kern, M.D., Ph.D., with the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Further research is needed, she said.

Results appeared in Neurology on Aug. 17.