Nav: Home

One in 4 elderly Australian women have dementia

March 17, 2017

At least a quarter of Australian women over 70 will develop dementia according to University of Queensland researchers.

The researchers used a new technique to provide an up-to-date estimate for dementia in the Australian population. Dr Michael Waller from the UQ School of Public Health said the nation's population was aging, but there was conflicting information being presented.

"On one hand we expect the number of women living with dementia to increase, but on the other hand there is international research suggesting rates might be decreasing," Dr Waller said.

"Having an up-to-date, local estimate of dementia rates is important so that policy makers and the health care and aged care industries can meet the needs of older Australians.

"There's no national registry for dementia, so Australian policy makers have had to rely on dementia rates from international studies, or extrapolated from clinical assessments made on small groups of people.

"We needed a new approach so we used a method ecologists call 'capture-recapture'.

"Where an ecologist works with animals, we work with data.

"So instead of capturing, tagging, releasing and then recapturing animals to estimate a population size we are applying the same technique to health data to estimate the number of cases.

"The prevalence of dementia is often underestimated and this technique allows us to compare different data sources and estimate the number of cases that may have been missed."

The researchers looked at data from 12,000 Australian women born between 1921 and 1926 who participated in the Women's Health Australia study (also known as the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health).

For the past 20 years participants answered detailed surveys on their lifestyle, activities, and physical and mental health.

Survey data was linked to aged care assessments, the National Death Index, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and hospital admissions data to find any instance where the women participating in the study were diagnosed with dementia by a doctor.

"Previously, an elderly participant with dementia would have just dropped out of the survey, but by linking to additional health records we can find out what happened to them and their contribution isn't lost," Dr Waller said.

"The women in the study have been very loyal over the years and I think that they, and their families, would appreciate that their contribution to women's health research will continue despite their diagnosis."

The research is published in Emerging Themes in Epidemiology.
-end-


University of Queensland

Related Dementia Articles:

Flies the key to studying the causes of dementia
A research team from the University of Plymouth, University of Southampton and the Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center, Vari, Greece, have studied two structurally-similar proteins in the adult brain and have found that they play distinct roles in the development of dementia.
Stroke prevention may also reduce dementia
Ontario's stroke prevention strategy appears to have had an unexpected, beneficial side effect: a reduction also in the incidence of dementia among older seniors.
Dementia: The right to rehabilitation
Rehabilitation is important for people with dementia as it is for people with physical disabilities, according to a leading dementia expert.
One in 4 elderly Australian women have dementia
At least a quarter of Australian women over 70 will develop dementia according to University of Queensland researchers.
Rural dementia -- we need to talk
Research carried out by Plymouth University into the experience of dementia in farming and farming families, and its impact on their businesses and home lives, has identified four areas of concern which need to be addressed if dementia in the countryside is to be managed.
Women with dementia receive less medical attention
Women with dementia have fewer visits to the GP, receive less health monitoring and take more potentially harmful medication than men with dementia, new UCL research reveals.
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.
New study suggests rethink of dementia causes
University of Adelaide researchers have developed a new theory for the causes of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, involving an out-of-control immune system.
Bleeding stroke associated with onset of dementia
Bleeding within the brain, or intracerebral hemorrhage, was associated with a high risk of developing dementia post stroke, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2016.
Dementia: New insights into causes of loss of orientation
The University of Exeter Medical School led two studies, each of which moves us a step closer to understanding the onset of dementia, and potentially to paving the way for future therapies.

Related Dementia Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#513 Dinosaur Tails
This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands".