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Dementia Prevalence Increases in Oldest Women But Not Men

Prevalence of dementia doubles every five years in women over 90 years of age

THURSDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of dementia doubles every five years in women aged 90 years and older but remains stable in men, according to a report published online July 2 in Neurology.

Maria M. Corrada, of the University of California-Irvine, and colleagues examined cases of dementia in 911 patients aged 90 and older participating in the 90+ Study, a population-based study of aging and dementia. Dementia was diagnosed using either in-person examination or using other cognitive assessments.

At baseline, the overall prevalence of dementia was 41.2 percent (27.6 percent in men and 45.2 percent in women), the researchers report. In women, the prevalence essentially doubled every five years after age 90, but this was not the case in men. In addition, a lower prevalence of dementia was significantly associated with a higher education in women but not in men, the report indicates.

While the authors point out a number of possible explanations for their findings, they note that "the 90+ Study is one of very few studies to examine prevalence in the oldest-old with enough participants to allow for analysis by age and sex…. Our study suggests that the prevalence of dementia is quite high for the oldest-old and in women, specifically, continues to increase past age 90."

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