These data about dementia are linked to an enormous wealth of economic, health, psychological, and other information about these same individuals and their families over time, said Richard Suzman, director of the Behavioral and Social Research Program at the National Institute on Aging. We can now track the impact and costs of dementia on society, the economy, and families in ways we never could before.
For the study, participants were assessed in their homes by a specially trained nurse and neuropsychology technician, using a diagnostic protocol similar to the type of memory evaluation done in a medical clinic. The team collected detailed information about how the participant was functioning in daily activities from a knowledgeable informant, usually a family member or close friend. They also administered a battery of neuropsychological tests, including measures of memory, orientation, language, attention and problem solving ability. In addition, DNA samples were collected from a cheek swab to test for the presence of the APOE e4 allele, which has been linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimers disease.
The information was reviewed in case conferences by a team of Duke physicians and psychologists, and final diagnoses were made by another consensus panel of experts.
Overall, the researchers found that Alzheimers disease accounted for approximately 69.9 percent of all dementia, while vascular dementia often caused by stroke accounted for 17.4 percent. With increasing age, Alzheimers disease accounted for progressively more of the dementia cases, so that in the 90+ age group, it comprised 79.5 percent of dementia cases, compared to 46.7 percent among those in their 70s.
The researchers also examined how education, gender, and APOE genotype were related to dementia. They found that the more years of educa
|Contact: Diane Swanbrow|
University of Michigan