New Cases Of Alzheimer's Dementia Continue Rise
Previous epidemiological studies have suggested that the number of people with Alzheimer's and dementia begins to level off and perhaps even go down a bit in people age 90 and above, known as the "oldest old." This is the fastest growing segment of the population in western countries.
"The number of people affected by Alzheimer's and dementia is growing at an epidemic pace, and the skyrocketing financial and personal costs will devastate the world's economies and healthcare systems, and far too many families," says William Thies, chief medical & scientific Officer at the Alzheimer's Association. "We must make the fight against Alzheimer's a priority before it's too late."
"However there is hope. There are many drugs in late stage clinical trials for Alzheimer's that show promise to slow or stop the progression of the disease. This, combined with advancements in early detection, has the potential to change the landscape of Alzheimer's in our lifetimes. But we need more funding for research to see these possibilities through to completion," Thies says.
The research reported at ICAD 2009 includes a study of more than 2,100 individuals age 80 years or older in eight municipalities of Varese province, Italy, and a systematic review and collaborative analysis of studies reporting the prevalence of dementia in Europe.
The Monzino 80-plus Study – Dementia Risk Continues to Rise in the "Oldest Old"
Ugo Lucca, head of the Laboratory of Geriatric Neuropsychiatry at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milano, Italy, 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.
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