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Dementia After Age 75: Survival in Different Severity Stages and Years of Life Lost

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Dementia is a known predictor of mortality, but little is known about disease duration. We therefore aimed to investigate the impact of dementia on survival by estimating years lived with the disease, in total and in different severity stages, and by comparing dementia to other major chronic disorders such as cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD). During a 7.4-year follow-up of the Kungsholmen project, 371 incident dementia cases of the 1,307 dementia-free persons, aged 75+ at baseline, were clinically diagnosed (DSM-III-R criteria). Diagnoses of cancer and CVD were obtained from the national Stockholm Inpatient Registry System, active since 1969. Disease duration, hazard ratio (HR), and potential years of life lost (PYLL) were derived from Kaplan–Meier survival estimation, the Cox model, and standard life-table analysis, respectively. Dementia was a significant predictor of mortality (HR=1.7; 95% CI: 1.47–1.92) after adjustment for several covariates including comorbidity, accounting for 16% of all deaths. The mean (±SD) survival time after dementia diagnosis was 4.1 (±2.6) years, and more than 2 years were spent in moderate (14-month) and severe (12-month) stages. Women with dementia lived longer than men, as they survived longer in the severe stage (2.1 vs. 0.5 years among 75–84-year-old women compared to coetaneous men). The PYLL were 3.4 for dementia, 3.6 for CVD, and 4.4 for cancer. We found a similar impact of dementia and CVD on survival, but following diagnosis, persons with dementia, and especially women, spent half of their remaining lives in the severe disabling stages of the disease.
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Keywords: Cancer; PYLL; Parkinson's disease; cardiovascular diseases; dementia; mortality; survival

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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  • Current Alzheimer Research publishes peer-reviewed frontier review and research articles on all areas of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the neurobiology, genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment strategies of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, molecular, and animal models. The journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of molecular diagnostics, brain imaging, drug development and discovery, and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to the synergistic mechanism of Alzheimer's disease with other dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research provides a comprehensive 'bird's-eye view' of the current state of Alzheimer's research for neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting, caregivers and families of this devastating disease.
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