Chapter

Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia

Lorene M. Nelson, Caroline M. Tanner, Stephen K. Van Den Eeden and Valerie M. McGuire

in Neuroepidemiology

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195133790
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199863730 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195133790.003.05
Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia

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This chapter explores the frequency with which dementing illnesses occur in populations, their distributions by personal characteristics, and what is known about their causes and potential protective factors. The primary focus is on the most common forms of dementia: Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. The chapter summarizes clinical and pathologic features of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, and highlights recent theories of how risk factors affect brain reserve. With the evolution of the epidemiology of dementia from case-control studies to prospective cohort studies has come a new set of methodological challenges. These include identification of representative populations, enhancing subject participation and retention in studies, the need to include institutionalized as well as community-dwelling populations, the non-standardized use of cognitive tests to screen for dementia, and the complexities of the diagnostic process itself. Finally, the chapter summarizes risk and protective factors for disease expression, including cardiovascular risk factors, lifestyle factors, and factors that affect brain reserve.

Keywords: dementia; Alzheimer's disease; vascular dementia; brain reserve; cognitive reserve; risk factors; community-dwelling populations; case definition

Chapter.  17913 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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