Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Women More Likely Than Men to Have Dementia After Age 90

The University of California , Irvine, issued the following news release:Women over 90 more likely to have dementia than menIrvine, Calif. -- Women over 90 are significantly more likely to havedementia than men of the same age, according UC Irvine researchersinvolved with the 90+ Study, one of the nation's largest studies ofdementia and other health factors in the fastest-growing age demographic.The researchers reviewed an analysis of 911 people enrolled in the 90+Study. Of those, 45 percent of the women had dementia, as opposed to 28percent of the men. The analysis did not determine when the subjectsfirst experienced dementia.The 90-plus age group, or the "oldest old," is the fastest growingsegment of the population, according to the U.S. Census. While there arecurrently nearly 2 million nonagenarians in the U.S. alone, that numberis projected to increase to 10 to 12 million by the middle of thecentury, raising concerns that the current health care system may not beable to accommodate this population."Our findings show that more will need to be done to provide adequateresources to care for the increasing number of very old people withdementia," said Maria Corrada, a UC Irvine epidemiologist and studycorresponding author.The study appears in the July 2 online issue of Neurology, the medicaljournal of the American Academy of Neurology.Research has shown that dementia prevalence for both men and womenincreases from age 65 to 85. The frequency of dementia increases withage from less than 2 percent for the 65-69-year-olds, to 5 percent forthe 75-79-year-olds and to more than 20 percent for the 85-89-year-olds.The UC Irvine study, conducted in Laguna Woods, Calif., is among the fewto look at dementia in people over age 90. It found that the likelihoodof having dementia doubled every five years in women after reaching 90,but not in men. The results also showed that women with a highereducation appeared to be as much as 45 percent less likely to havedementia compared to women with less education.With women comprising three-quarters of the 90-plus population, thestudy raises questions why these women nonagenarians are more likely tohave dementia than men."Our findings provide valuable information toward further inquiries intodementia, such as if oldest-old men can live as long with dementia asoldest-old women do, or whether in this age group women develop dementiaat a higher rate than men," Corrada said.Dementia, a progressive brain dysfunction, leads to a graduallyincreasing restriction of daily activities. The most well-known type ofdementia is Alzheimer's disease. Symptoms of dementia include memoryloss, cognitive disorientation and behavioral changes. Dementia affectsnot only patients but also those surrounding them, as most patientsrequire long-term care.Study co-authors are Dr. Claudia Kawas and Daniel Berlau from UC Irvine,Ron Brookmeyer from Johns Hopkins University, and Annlia Paganini-Hillof USC. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health andthe Nichols Chair in Clinical Neuroscience.About the 90+ Study: Initiated in 2003, the 90+ Study performs clinical,pathological and genetic research in people 90 or older, the fastest-growing segment of the population. With a cohort of 1,100 participants,the 90+ team has assembled one of the largest prospective studies ofoldest old subjects in the world. Results obtained thus far haveprovided researchers across the globe with valuable information aboutaging. The study, run through the Clinic for Aging Research andEducation in Laguna Woods, Calif., is directed by Dr. Claudia Kawas, theNichols Chair in Clinical Neuroscience.

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