Our Dementia Research Centre publishes paper on life expectancy following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
Posted 13 August, 2012
Our Dementia Research Centre (based within and in partnership with The University of Edinburgh) was opened almost a year ago (on 21 September 2011) by Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The Centre was possible thanks to the support of both the university and the many individuals, groups, organisations, trusts and companies who donate to our research work. Since then, it has been extremely busy, working to help us better understand the causes and impact of the illness.
Earlier this month, the Dementia Research Centre was involved in a paper published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry on ‘Cognitive and behavioural predictors of survival in Alzheimer disease’. Dr Tom Russ, an Alzheimer Scotland Clinical Research Fellow at the Centre, explains in layman’s terms what the research was about.
It is very hard to predict how fast or slow someone who has just been diagnosed with dementia will progress, but this is often just what this person and their family are interested in. We looked at over 600 men and women diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease ten years ago, to see if any of the tests done in the clinic could predict who was going to do well.
Younger patients survived for longer, as did women compared to men. Scores on general memory tests did not predict how long someone survived for. However we found that people who had psychotic symptoms (delusions and hallucinations) at the time of diagnosis did less well than others, as did people scoring less well on one specific test. We need to do more research to see if we can help people stay well for longer by helping them with these things.
Dr Tom Russ, Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre
The full article can be found in Russ TC, Batty GD & Starr JM. (2012) Cognitive and behavioural predictors of survival in Alzheimer disease: results from a sample of treated patients in a tertiary-referral memory clinic. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 27(8): 844-53.