Incidence and etiology of dementia in a large elderly Italian population

G. Ravaglia, P. Forti, F. Maioli, M. Martelli, L. Servadei, N. Brunetti, E. Dalmonte, M. Bianchin, E. Mariani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To estimate age- and sex-specific incidence of dementia, Alzheimer disease (AD), and vascular dementia (VaD) in the Conselice Study of Brain Aging, an Italian prospective population-based study, and to assess whether poor education is a risk factor for dementia. Methods: In 1999 to 2000, the baseline study identified a dementia-free cohort of 937 subjects aged 65 years and older who were reexamined in 2003 to 2004 using a two-phase procedure. Results: Information was obtained for 91% of the subjects at risk; 115 incident cases of dementia were identified. Incidence rates per 1,000 person-years were 37.8 (95% CI = 30.0 to 47.7) for dementia, 23.8 (95% CI = 17.3 to 31.7) for AD, and 11.0 (95% CI = 7.2 to 16.9) for VaD. This translates into more than 400,000 new cases of dementia expected per year in Italy. Increasing age was an independent risk factor for both AD and VaD. Poor education was an independent risk factor for AD but not VaD. Sex did not affect dementia risk. Conclusions: In this Italian population-based cohort, incidence of dementia increased with age, and Alzheimer disease (AD) was the most frequent type of dementia. Poor education was associated with a higher risk of AD. Our incidence rates are higher than previously reported in Italy, and provide new estimates for projection of future burden of disease in Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1525-1530
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 10 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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