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Impact of road network structure on dementia-related missing incidents: A spatial buffer approach

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Abstract

Dementia-related missing incidents are a highly prevalent issue worldwide. Despite being associated with potentially life-threatening consequences, very little is still known about what environmental risk factors may potentially contribute to these missing incidents. The aim of this study was to conduct a retrospective, observational analysis using a large sample of police case records of missing individuals with dementia (n = 210). Due to the influence that road network structure has on our real world navigation, we aimed to explore the relationship between road intersection density, intersection complexity, and orientation entropy to the dementia-related missing incidents. For each missing incident location, the above three variables were computed at a 1 km radius buffer zone around these locations; these values were then compared to that of a set of random locations. The results showed that higher road intersection density, intersection complexity, and orientation entropy were all significantly associated with dementia-related missing incidents. Our results suggest that these properties of road network structure emerge as significant environmental risk factors for dementia-related missing incidents, informing future prospective studies as well as safeguarding guidelines.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number18574
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Issue number1
Early online date29 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Peer-reviewedYes

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