Alzheimer's disease, other dementias, depression and pseudodementia: prevalence, incidence and three-year outcome in Liverpool.

J R Copeland , I A Davidson , M E Dewey , C Gilmore , B A Larkin , C McWilliam , P A Saunders , A Scott , V Sharma , C Sullivan

Abstract

A group of 1070 community-living persons aged 65 and over was assessed using the GMS-AGECAT package and other interviews at years 0 and 3. Year 3 interviewers were 'blind' to the findings at year 0, and the prevalence of organic disorders and depression was very similar in both years. According to the results at year 3, minimum and maximum prevalence figures for dementia at year 0 were 2.4% and 3.8% for moderate to severe and 0.4% and 2.4% for mild or early cases, with a best estimate of 3.5% and 0.8%, or 4.3% overall, divided into: senile, Alzheimer's type 3.3%; vascular 0.7%; and alcohol-related 0.3%. The overall incidence of dementia, clinically confirmed by six-year follow-up, was 9.2/1000 per year (Alzheimer type 6.3, vascular 1.9, alcohol related 1.0). Three years later, 72.0% of those with depressive psychosis and 62.3% of those with depressive neurosis were either dead or had some kind of psychiatric illness. Nearly 60% of milder depressive cases (7.2% of the total sample) had either died or developed a chronic mental illness. The outcome of depressive pseudodementias is equivocal so far. Findings at year 3 provide validation of AGECAT computer diagnosis against outcome; organic and depression diagnoses are seen to have important implications for prognosis.