Comprehensive Study Measures Dementia Prevalence
> 10/31/2007 9:50:19 AM

A more complete national study into the prevalence of dementia has found that the disorder is roughly 30% more common than previously thought. While earlier estimates put the number at 2.9 million, the newest National Institute on Aging backed research found that the number of Americans with dementia is closer to 3.8 million. Published in an upcoming edition of Neuroepidemiology, this new research found that 13.9% of adults aged 71 or older—or about 1 in 7—have some form of dementia, and that 9.7%, or about 2.4 million of those individuals had Alzheimer's disorder, the most common cause of dementia in older Americans.

To arrive at these new figures, researchers traveled to the homes of 856 men and women, administered a battery of tests, and interviewed the subjects and a close friend or relative about their daily functioning. Interviewers also collected DNA samples to test for the APOE e4 allele that has been linked to an increased chance of developing Alzheimer's. After the collected data was analyzed the team found that Alzheimer's accounted for 69.9% of all dementias, while 17.4% of dementias were vascular, a variety most commonly linked with strokes. A press release from the University of Michigan highlighted some of the study's other details:

The researchers also examined how education, gender, and APOE genotype were related to dementia. They found that the more years of education, the lower the risk of dementia. After controlling for education levels and age, they found no significant difference in dementia risk between males and females. As expected, they found that the presence of one or two APOE e4 alleles was linked with significantly higher risk of developing dementia.

One of the most important aspects of this recent survey was that it examined a nationally representative sample from every region within the U.S. Previous studies had focused on more narrow groups, and thus had to extrapolate out from there. This study will provide those interested in future research or in creating informed policy with useful information about the prevalence of dementia and Alzheimer's across all regions and the nation at large. As the National Institute of Aging pointed out in their own press release, the number of cases will almost certainly increase until we develop methods by which neuro-cognitive decline can be slowed or even reversed. Until then however, this survey information can help us get a better handle on the problem and begin to plan for the future.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy