Alzheimer's a much larger cause of death than reported

A new U.S. study suggests that Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are markedly under-reported on death certificates and medical records. Death certificates tend to only provide an immediate cause, such as pneumonia, and don’t mention the underlying condition that provoked it.

The study involved 2,566 older adults (65+; mean age 78) who received annual testing for dementia. The death rate was more than four times higher for those aged 75-84 who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and nearly three times higher in those with Alzheimer’s aged 85+. More than one-third of all deaths in those age groups were attributable to Alzheimer's disease. Median time from Alzheimer’s diagnosis to death was 3.8 years.

All this translates into an estimated mortality rate from Alzheimer's that is five to six times higher than the accepted number (derived from death certificates), which has put Alzheimer’s as the 6th leading cause of death.

[3579] James, B. D., Leurgans S. E., Hebert L. E., Scherr P. A., Yaffe K., & Bennett D. A.
(2014).  Contribution of Alzheimer disease to mortality in the United States.
Neurology. 82(12), 1045 - 1050.

Related News

A study involving 116 healthy older adults (65-75) has found that higher levels of several key nutrients in the blood were associated with more efficient brain connectivity and better cognitive performance.

A long-running study involving 8225 adults found that self-reported diet during midlife (mean age 50) was not significantly associated with subsequent risk for dementia.

A small study comparing 38 younger adults (average age 22) and 39 older adults (average age 68) found that the older adults were less able to recognize when they made errors.

Can computer use, crafts and games slow or prevent age-related memory loss?

Americans with a college education live longer without dementia and Alzheimer's

Socially active 60-year-olds face lower dementia risk

Stressors in middle age linked to cognitive decline in older women

Data from some 900 older adults has linked stressful life experiences among middle-aged women, but not men, to greater memory decline in later life.

A study involving more than 2,500 older adults (65+) found that the rate of worsening vision was associated with the rate of cognitive decline. More importantly, vision has a stronger influence on cognition than the reverse.

Hearing loss linked to increased dementia risk

Chronic insomnia linked to memory problems


Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news