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Study: Willingness to be screened for dementia varies by age but not by sex, race or income
Date:6/19/2012

INDIANAPOLIS -- The first study to examine the actual willingness of older adults to be screened for dementia has found that acceptance of screening is pervasive, although it varies by age. However, willingness to be screened for dementia does not differ by sex, race or income level.

Almost 90 percent of the 554 people in the study, who ranged in age from 65 to 96, indicated their willingness by undergoing actual screening. The odds of refusal were higher for patients age 70 to 79 than for those age 65 to 69 or for those age 80 or older. Refusal rates were lowest for those who ranged in age from 65 to 69.

Seventy percent of study participants were female, and slightly over half of those in the study were African-American. Three quarters of the older adults had an annual income of less than $20,000. Neither sex, race nor income level affected the study participants' willingness to undergo dementia screening. Refusal rates also did not vary by education level.

"Unlike past studies which asked about theoretical willingness to be screened for dementia and found less interest, we looked at actual willingness of primary care patients to be screened," said Regenstrief Institute investigator Malaz Boustani, M.D., MPH, associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. A geriatrician, Dr. Boustani is the study's corresponding author and principal investigator. He is also medical director of the Healthy Aging Brain Center at Wishard Health Services, the public hospital where the study was conducted. The majority of older adults receive their health care from primary care physicians.

"We were surprised by the fact that only one in 10 older adults did not want to be screened for dementia, and we believe this finding of an extremely high level of acceptance of screening by our well-powered study will help doctors and the United States Preventive Services Task Force evaluate the benefits and harms of demen
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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