Prevalence and determinants of undetected dementia in the community

Lang, L. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e011146


Objectives: Detection of dementia is essential for improving the lives of patients but the extent of underdetection worldwide and its causes are not known. This study aimed to quantify the prevalence of undetected dementia and to examine its correlates.

Conclusions: The prevalence of undetected dementia is high globally. Wide variations in detecting dementia need to be urgently examined, particularly in populations with low socioeconomic status. Efforts are required to reduce diagnostic inequality and to improve early diagnosis in the community.

Read the full article here

Dementia on the downslide, especially among people with more education

In a hopeful sign for the health of the nation’s brains, the percentage of American seniors with dementia is dropping, a new study finds | ScienceDaily


The downward trend has emerged despite something else the study shows: a rising tide of three factors that are thought to raise dementia risk by interfering with brain blood flow, namely diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Those with the most years of education had the lowest chances of developing dementia, according to the findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine by a team from the University of Michigan. This may help explain the larger trend, because today’s seniors are more likely to have at least a high school diploma than those in the same age range a decade ago.

With the largest generation in American history now entering the prime years for dementia onset, the new results add to a growing number of recent studies in the United States and other countries that suggest a downward trend in dementia prevalence. These findings may help policy-makers and economic forecasters adjust their predictions for the total impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.

Read the full review here

Read the original research article here

Increase in the number of people dying with dementia

Public Health England has published a range of products which examine the deaths of people recorded with dementia between 2012 and 2014.

Figures show the number of deaths with a mention of dementia was:

  • 6.6% of all deaths in 2001
  • 15.8% of deaths in 2014

This is most likely due to an increase in awareness and recording of dementia.

New reports have been produced by the Dementia Intelligence Network (DIN) in collaboration with the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network (NEoLCIN) and draw on national data to see if there have been changes in dementia deaths over time, who the people dying with dementia are, where they die and the cause of their death.

The findings suggest that people who live in more deprived areas die with dementia at a younger age than those who live in more affluent areas.

There are also considerable differences between the place of death for people who have dementia and the general population. People with dementia are considerably more likely to die in hospitals and care homes and less likely to die at home or in end of life care settings such as hospices.

Read the Dementia Intelligence Network (DIN) and the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network (NEOLCIN) reports here

Read the PHE press release here 

Image source:

UK dementia cases fell 20% between 1989 and 2011

White, C. OnMedica. Published online: 20 April 2016

The prevalence of dementia in the UK may not be increasing as fast as has been feared, say researchers after reporting a 20% drop in the numbers of new cases diagnosed between 1989 and 2011 in a study published online in Nature Communications.

Image source: Matthews, F.E. et al.- Nature Communications

The researchers compared the actual number of dementia cases in the UK with figures from earlier decades and previous predictions.

Between their two sample periods of 1989-94 and 2008-11, the incidence of the disease fell by 20%—but predominantly in men, among whom new cases in those over 80 almost halved during those periods, the findings show.

Two thirds of new cases will be in women, who seem to be at a higher risk of developing dementia than men, irrespective of their longevity advantage over men, the findings indicate.

View the full commentary here

View the original research abstract here

Is Dementia in Decline? Historical Trends and Future Trajectories

David S. Jones & Jeremy A. Greene. New England Journal of Medicine 2016; 374:507-509

In 2005, researchers from the Duke Center for Demographic Studies reported a “surprising trend”: data from the National Long-Term Care Surveys showed that the prevalence of severe cognitive impairment in the Medicare population had decreased significantly between 1982 and 1999.1 At a time when baby-boomer demographics led to predictions of a looming dementia crisis, this finding offered hope.

Since that time, other reports have similarly shown that the incidence or prevalence of dementia is decreasing in various populations. Researchers have offered many possible explanations, including increased wealth, better education, control of vascular risk factors, and use of statins, antihypertensive agents, and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs.1,2 However, even as researchers describe their “cautious optimism” about specific populations, they still project a quadrupling of global prevalence over the coming decades.3

Read the full ‘Perspective’ article here

Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) Recorded Dementia Diagnoses – December 2015


dementia dec2015
Image source: HSCIC

Executive Summary


Recorded dementia prevalence at 31st December 2015 is 0.755 per cent (1 person in 132). When considered alongside monthly data collected in 2014/15, this indicates a progressive increase in recorded prevalence from March 2015 (0.738) to December 2015 (0.755). After adjustments to remove spurious, ‘non-GP’ practices, shared practices and practices which decided not to participate in this extraction, the extract cohort available for collection was 7,623 practices. Of the extract cohort, data for 7,436 practices were collected, representing 97.5 per cent coverage of practices and 97.7 per cent of registered patients.

dementia dec20152
Image source: HSCIC


Prevalence of dementia in population groups

Public Health England has published Prevalence of dementia in population groups by protected characteristics: a systematic review of the literature. This review examines how common dementia is and how much it varies between groups with the following characteristics: socio-economic position, race or ethnic group, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability. This review builds on previous work by the Department of Health in 2010 to 2011, as part of the development of the Dementia Equalities Action Plan (DH, 2011).