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Prevalence of dementia in intellectual disability using different diagnostic criteria.

BACKGROUND: Diagnosis of dementia is complex in adults with intellectual disability owing to their pre-existing deficits and different presentation.

AIMS: To describe the clinical features and prevalence of dementia and its subtypes, and to compare the concurrent validity of dementia criteria in older adults with intellectual disability.

METHOD: The Becoming Older with Learning Disability (BOLD) memory study is a two-stage epidemiological survey of adults with intellectual disability without Down syndrome aged 60 years and older, with comprehensive assessment of people who screen positive. Dementia was diagnosed according to ICD-10, DSM-IV and DC-LD criteria.

RESULTS: The DSM-IV dementia criteria were more inclusive. Diagnosis using ICD-10 excluded people with even moderate dementia. Clinical subtypes of dementia can be recognised in adults with intellectual disability. Alzheimer's dementia was the most common, with a prevalence of 8.6% (95% CI 5.2-13.0), almost three times greater than expected.

CONCLUSIONS: Dementia is common in older adults with intellectual disability, but prevalence differs according to the diagnostic criteria used. This has implications for clinical practice.

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