Boston, MA--Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have estimated that one in six women are at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) in their lifetime, while the risk for men is one in ten. These findings were released today by the Alzheimer's Association in their publication 2008 Alzheimer's Disease: Facts and Figures.
Stroke and dementia are the most widely feared age-related neurological diseases, and are also the only neurological disorders listed in the ten leading causes of disease burden.
The researchers followed 2,794 participants of the Framingham Heart Study for 29 years who were without dementia. They found 400 cases of dementia of all types and 292 cases of AD. They estimated the lifetime risk of any dementia at more than one in five for women, and one in seven for men.
"The realization that the lifetime risk of stroke or dementia was more than one in three in both sexes, which is higher than the lifetime risk of coronary heart disease in women, is sobering," said lead author Sudha Seshadri, MD, an associate professor of neurology at BUSM and an investigator of the Framingham Heart Study.
According to the researchers, the greater lifetime expectancy for women translates into a greater lifetime risk of several diseases.
"People should be aware of the risk of a disease at some point in their life. Similarly, such statistics are essential for public health planners to estimate the projected disease burden in a population during its expected lifespan," adds Seshadri.
This research was funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stoke and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.