Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alzheimer's disease much larger cause of death than reported, study shows

Date:
March 5, 2014
Source:
American Academy of Neurology (AAN)
Summary:
Alzheimer’s disease may contribute to close to as many deaths in the United States as heart disease or cancer, a new study suggests. Currently, Alzheimer's disease falls sixth on the list of leading causes of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whereas heart disease and cancer are numbers one and two, respectively. These numbers are based on what is reported on death certificates.

"Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are under-reported on death certificates and medical records," said study author Bryan D. James, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "Death certificates often list the immediate cause of death, such as pneumonia, rather than listing dementia as an underlying cause."
Credit: Ivelin Radkov / Fotolia

A new study suggests that Alzheimer's disease may contribute to close to as many deaths in the United States as heart disease or cancer. The research is published in the March 5, 2014, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Related Articles


Currently, Alzheimer's disease falls sixth on the list of leading causes of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whereas heart disease and cancer are numbers one and two, respectively. These numbers are based on what is reported on death certificates.

"Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are under-reported on death certificates and medical records," said study author Bryan D. James, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "Death certificates often list the immediate cause of death, such as pneumonia, rather than listing dementia as an underlying cause." James added that attempting to identify a single cause of death does not always capture the reality of the process of dying for most elderly people, as multiple health issues often contribute.

"The estimates generated by our analysis suggest that deaths from Alzheimer's disease far exceed the numbers reported by the CDC and those listed on death certificates," said James.

For the study, 2,566 people ages 65 and older received annual testing for dementia. The average age of the participants was 78. The research found that after an average of eight years, 1,090 participants died. A total of 559 participants without dementia at the start of the study developed Alzheimer's disease. The average time from diagnosis to death was about four years. After death, Alzheimer's disease was confirmed through autopsy for about 90 percent of those who were clinically diagnosed.

The death rate was more than four times higher after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's in people age 75 to 84 and nearly three times higher in people age 85 and older. More than one-third of all deaths in those age groups were attributable to Alzheimer's disease.

James said this translates into an estimated 503,400 deaths from Alzheimer's in the U.S. population over age 75 in 2010, which is five to six times higher than the 83,494 number reported by the CDC based on death certificates.

"Determining the true effects of dementia in this country is important for raising public awareness and identifying research priorities regarding this epidemic," said James.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. D. James, S. E. Leurgans, L. E. Hebert, P. A. Scherr, K. Yaffe, D. A. Bennett. Contribution of Alzheimer disease to mortality in the United States. Neurology, 2014; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000240

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Neurology (AAN). "Alzheimer's disease much larger cause of death than reported, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305191204.htm>.
American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2014, March 5). Alzheimer's disease much larger cause of death than reported, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305191204.htm
American Academy of Neurology (AAN). "Alzheimer's disease much larger cause of death than reported, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140305191204.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 1, 2015) A rehabilitation robot prototype to help restore deteriorated nerves and muscles using electromyography and computer games. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins