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Prevalence of dementia and dementing diseases in Japan: the Tajiri project.

BACKGROUND: Vascular dementia (VaD) has been considered to be more prevalent than Alzheimer disease in Japan. However, this might be the result of overdiagnosis stemming from some problematic diagnosis of VaD or of the frequent use of magnetic resonance imaging to detect cerebrovascular disease in older adults.

OBJECTIVES: We investigated the prevalence of dementia and the ratios of dementing diseases. The effects of different criteria for VaD (DSM-IV, Alzheimer's Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centers [ADDTC], and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the Association Internationale pour la Recherche et l'Enseignement en Neurosciences [NINDS-AIREN]) were considered. Hippocampal atrophy and vascular contribution to dementia were evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging findings.

METHODS: We targeted all residents 65 years and older (n = 3207) in Tajiri, Japan, and examined 1654 (participant group 1). Of these, 564 (participant group 2) were randomly selected, and 497 underwent magnetic resonance imaging and diagnosis of dementing diseases.

RESULTS: We found the overall prevalence of dementia to be 8.5% (141/1654) in participant group 1. Of these, 21 (14.9%) had a history of stroke. Of the 113 participants who had a history of stroke independent of dementia, 18.6% (21/113) were demented. For participant group 2 (n = 497), 32 were demented. The ratio among the dementia for probable VaD based on the NINDS-AIREN criteria was 18.8% (6/32), whereas that for ischemic vascular dementia was 31.3% (10/32) according to the ADDTC criteria.

CONCLUSION: We confirmed the overall prevalence of dementia in adults 65 years and older to be 8.5%. We found that VaD was not a common disorder according to the NINDS-AIREN criteria. Rather, the condition of possible Alzheimer disease with cerebrovascular disease was more common.

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