26 January 2008

Survival times in people with dementia: analysis

People with dementia survive on average four and a half years after diagnosis
ScienceDaily / British Medical Journal : 11 January 2008
People with dementia survive an average of four and a half years after diagnosis, with age, sex, and existing disability all having an influence on life expectancy, finds a study published on the British Medical Journal website…. > full story : teaching brief

Additional realted journal editorial and rapid responses from BMJ: Caring for people with dementia

Alzheimer’s Australia Research Officer, Suzanne Dixon comments: A new UK-based study has found that on average people with dementia survive 4.5 years after diagnosis; age, sex, and existing disability all affect this figure. Individuals who are diagnosed younger live longer, as expected: those aged between 65 and 69 survived 10.7 years on average, while those over the age of 90 survived 3.8 years. Men survive 4.1 years on average, and women 4.6 years. Frailer individuals survived 3 less years on average than the fittest individuals. Education, class, and marital status did not have an effect.

The study was large (13,000 people) and stretched over 14 years, adding weight to the results. The findings are in line with previous estimates of survival rates of people with dementia, such as the 2004 Seattle study (which concluded a dementia diagnosis approximately halved life expectancy regardless of age). These results, and especially knowing which factors most influence survival, could be useful to carers and health professionals working with people with dementia.

updated: 27 January 2008

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