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Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Dementia affects millions in US

5th November 2007

US experts are warning that the numbers of people with dementia, and Alzheimer's specifically, will continue to increase in an ageing population until ways to delay the progression or prevent the dementia are found.

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Around one in seven Americans over the age of 71 - about 3.4 million people - is now believed to have some form of dementia, a new study has shown.

Of those, 2.4 million have Alzheimer's disease, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study which is part of an attempt to assess the full public health implications of dementia nationwide.

The team was led by Brenda L Plassman, PhD, of Duke University Medical Center, with Kenneth M Langa, MD, PhD, and David R Weir, PhD, of the University of Michigan, Robert B Wallace, PhD, of the University of Iowa.

It studied data collected from 856 participants aged 71 and over across 42 states between 2001 and 2002. The data includes at-home visits with detailed information about each person's cognitive and functional status and symptoms, neuropsychiatric symptoms, current medications, medical history and family history of memory problems. They also included the results of previous neurological scans and pathology tests.

A team of clinicians reviewed the evaluation information and made a preliminary assessment of each person's cognitive status.

A consensus panel of other medical experts then used well-accepted diagnostic criteria to determine if the participant had normal cognitive function, cognitive impairment without dementia, or dementia. Such criteria was further used to discern the type of dementia, including AD or vascular dementia, the second most common cause of dementia in older adults.

Plassman, Langa and the other co-authors estimated the national prevalence and total numbers of people age 71 and older, by age group, with any dementia and with AD or vascular dementia in 2002.

Their findings, published in Neuroepidemiology, estimate that around 13.9% of Americans in that age group had some type of dementia, while about 9.7% of the age group has Alzheimer's disease nationwide.

And the prevalence increases, in line with previous research, with age.

While only 2.3% of people aged 71 to 79 had dementia, that figure rose to 18.1% in the 80 to 89 age group. An estimated 29.7% of people over 90 had it, the study estimated.

Among the risk factors were fewer years of education and the presence of one genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's, the APOE e4 allele.

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Article Information

Title: Dementia affects millions in US
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 4636
Date Added: 5th Nov 2007


National Institutes of Health

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