Researchers conducted individual assessments of 856 people drawn from an earlier study that included a representative sample of Americans over 50.As they report in the latest issue of Neuroepidemiology, the findings suggest that 3.4 million Americans aged 71 or older suffer from some sort of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. This is about 30% higher than earlier estimates.
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They found a correlation between increased age and dementia diagnoses. “In a series of logistic models that included age and one additional variable (i.e. education, gender, race, or APOE genotype), older age was consistently associated with an increased risk of dementia,” the authors write. They say more than a third of people over the age of 90 suffer from dementia.
“What this study and others before it confirm is that there are millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and that number is estimated to grow at an epidemic rate if we don’t do something about it,” William Thies of the Alzheimer’s Association says in a statement.