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New cases of Alzheimer's and dementia continue to rise, even in the 'oldest old'
Date:7/13/2009

and colleagues conducted a prospective, door-to-door, population-based study of all people age 80 years or older in eight municipalities of Varese province, Italy, roughly 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Milan (known as the Monzino 80-plus Study). Their goal was to estimate the prevalence (total number with the disease) and incidence (new cases of the disease) of dementia in this population.

The researchers were able to gather information and an initial dementia evaluation for 2,138 individuals. The mean age of the population at that first evaluation was 87.5 years; 74.1% were women. Mean education was 5.1 years, and mean MMSE score was 21.4. After an average follow-up period of three years, of the 1,085 survivors non-demented at baseline, 995 were re-evaluated for dementia.

Prevalence of dementia standardized on the 2008 Italian population was 22.9% and was higher in women (25.8%) than in men (17.1%). Prevalence increased with advancing age:

  • 13.5% at 80-84 years
  • 30.8% at 85-89
  • 39.5% at 90-94
  • 52.8% over 94

The estimated annual incidence of dementia standardized on the 2008 Italian population was 8.6% and was higher in women (9.2%) than in men (7.2%). Incidence also rose with increasing age:

  • 6.0% at 80-84 years
  • 12.4% at 85-89
  • 13.1% at 90-94
  • 20.7% over 94

"Gathering reliable information on such a large number of the 'oldest old' makes this one of the largest studies investigating dementia in this age segment of the population," Lucca said. "This study's results confirm that Alzheimer's and dementia are very common among the oldest people in society. We believe this strengthens the need to shift more of the focus of clinical research to this segment of the elderly population."

According to the researchers, though the rate of women who developed dementia during the follow-up period was higher than in men in this study, no definite conclusion can be
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Contact: Niles Frantz
niles.frantz@alz.org
312-363-8782
Alzheimer's Association
Source:Eurekalert

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