Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dementia rates mostly stable in Europe

16 july 2009 – In the last two decades, most gender and age groups in Europe have shown little change in the rate of dementia, according to study findings presented Monday at the Alzheimer's Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Vienna.

The exception is women in the oldest old category (85 years or older). Dementia rates in this group are higher than previously reported. In fact, women over 95 years have a one in two chance of having dementia, the EUROCODE research group found.

Lead researcher Dr. Emma Reynish, from Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, UK, and her team searched Medline and Embase for studies that provided data on dementia rates.

In both men and women, the rate of dementia increased with age, the findings indicate. For men, the rate ranged from 1.8 percent in subjects 65 to 69 years of age to 30 percent in those over 90 years. In women, the rate rose from 1.5 percent to 30 percent between 65 and 85 years of age.

That rate "increases with age, including in the oldest old (whereas it was formerly thought to stabilize in that group)," Reynish told Reuters Health. "The majority of people with dementia are in their late 80's or 90's. Their health and social care needs are specific to this older population and they will require a holistic approach for each individuals needs."

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