Population-based neuropathological studies of dementia: design, methods and areas of investigation – a systematic review
© Zaccai et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2006
Received: 06 September 2005
Accepted: 09 January 2006
Published: 09 January 2006
Prospective population-based neuropathological studies have a special place in dementia research which is under emphasised.
A systematic review of the methods of population-based neuropathological studies of dementia was carried out. These studies were assessed in relation to their representativeness of underlying populations and the clinical, neuropsychological and neuropathological approaches adopted.
Six studies were found to be true population-based neuropathological studies of dementia in the older people: the Hisayama study (Japan); Vantaa 85+ study (Finland); CC75C study (Cambridge, UK); CFAS (multicentre, UK); Cache County study (Utah, USA); HAAS (Hawaï, USA). These differ in the core characteristics of their populations. The studies used standardised neuropathological methods which facilitate analyses on: clinicopathological associations and confirmation of diagnosis, assessing the validity of hierarchical models of neuropathological lesion burden; investigating the associations between neuropathological burden and risk factors including genetic factors. Examples of findings are given although there is too little overlap in the areas investigated amongst these studies to form the basis of a systematic review of the results.
Clinicopathological studies based on true population samples can provide unique insights in dementia. Individually they are limited in power and scope; together they represent a powerful source to translate findings from laboratory to populations.
Within the next two decades unprecedented numbers of people will be entering the age range at which incidence of dementing diseases is highest. The EURODEM Prevalence Research Group estimates that 6% of people over the age of 65 will suffer from dementia, with 30% in the over 80s . The economic cost of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is already higher than that of heart disease and cancer combined . The high dependency associated with dementia, with its costs and consequences for society, gives research into the aetiology and pathogenesis of late life dementia major priority.
Beyond the pathological confirmation of diagnosis, and the inherent generalisability of the data, working with population-based neuropathological studies allows a range of further investigations (along with cohort studies). These include identification of brain lesions that relate best to cognitive decline, and the examination of links between pathologies and potential risk factors. This approach highlights the significance of brain lesions as substrates for the decline noted in normal ageing in comparison to the demented . Because population cohorts naturally represent spectra of disease, it is possible to test hypothetical semi-quantitative thresholds definable in terms of a staging system [13, 14] that might discriminate clinical dementia and illuminate critical steps in the neurobiological progression of cognitive decline through states such as Mild Cognitive Impairment. Thus identifying neuropathological markers relevant to cognitive function both helps in the diagnostic process and the understanding of the molecular and clinical aetiology of dementias and ultimately results in the development of better treatments.
Prospective population-based neuropathological studies allow findings of clinicopathological cohort studies to have a special place in dementia research which is under emphasised. This paper reports a systematic literature review of the methods of on-going population-based neuropathological studies of old age dementia, assesses the representativeness of the study populations included in each, and reviews their neuropathological methods. Examples of findings from population-based studies will be discussed to illustrate the range of areas investigated.
Literature data sources and search strategy
A systematic review is the application of strategies that limit bias in the assembly, critical appraisal and synthesis of all relevant studies on a specific topic . Systematic reviews focus on peer-reviewed publications about a specific health problem and use vigorous, standardised methods for selecting and assessing each article. A search was performed in July 2004 using the entire Medline, PubMed, Embase and Web of Science databases without using any language restrictions. The following key words were used to perform multiple searches: dementia, neuropathol*, autopsy, population, community. The search was not straightforward in that it was difficult to pinpoint an adequate MeSH word in PubMed or use the explode options in other databases to select for truly population-based studies. To solve this problem keywords cited with relevant articles already retrieved were scoped and used in the search strategy. However, this approach did not yield additional target publications. A preliminary list of 4,048 papers were traced and a first selection was made based on their title and abstracts. These 4,048 papers do not represent 4,000+ different cohorts but all the publications from a smaller number of cohorts. Key authors were contacted and key studies were also followed in order to trace descriptions of original study designs. The search was discontinued when no new studies were being found. Data within articles directly reporting population-based neuropathological studies of dementia in the elderly were extracted using a data collection proforma designed specifically for this review.
The aim of the literature search was to gather information on all studies that are population-based neuropathological studies of dementia. These are studies where a general population defined by geographical boundaries is the sampling frame . Respondents must be recruited from all sub-groups of the population, whatever the social background, residential status (community or institutional) or health status. Studies were included if they did not have selection criteria for the respondents related to 'caseness' or potential 'caseness', and if they sought post-mortem examination of the brains of respondents across all cognitive states.
List of studies and study populations meeting inclusion criteria
Six studies were found to be true population-based neuropathological studies on old age dementia. They are briefly described by date of recruitment of baseline population. Reference lists for each study are not exhaustive.
The Hisayama study is a prospective cohort study, which has been carried out since 1961 in a Japanese subrural community in Hisayama, Japan. The initial aim was to explore the epidemiology of cerebrovascular diseases. Starting in 1985, the prevalence of dementia was investigated among residents aged 65 and over. The study recruited a series of three cohorts (in 1985, 1992 and 1999) and in 1992 it had a huge response rate at baseline with 99.7% (= 1436) of the eligible population enrolled. Between 1985 and 1992, 82% (= 176) of the participants who died underwent brain examination at autopsy; between 1998 and 2001, the autopsy rate was 70.5% [15–19].
The Cambridge City over 75 Cohort Study (CC75C) is a long-term British follow-up study of a population sample of around 2,600 people aged 75 and above, also begun in 1985 . The study started as the Hughes Hall Project for Later life (dementia prevalence phase) then became the Cambridge Project for Later Life (first incidence phase), before being renamed CC75C. The original study targeted all people who were registered with selected group general practices in Cambridge (sampling based on availability of universal health care free at the point of delivery in the UK), including those in institutions, and achieved a 92% response rate at baseline [20–26].
The Vantaa 85+ Study is based on an unselected prospective population-based sample of all individuals aged 85 or over living in the city of Vantaa, in Southern Finland, on April 1, 1991. There was a 92% response rate with 553 subjects taking part in the study. The Vantaa 85+ has the second highest proportion of autopsies of all the selected studies with 55% of the initial population having donated their brain by 2002 [27–33].
The Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (CFAS) is based on six centres in England and Wales (Cambridgeshire, Gwynedd, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Oxford and Liverpool). The study population was a random sample from registers of general practices, of around 2,500 people for the first five centres and 5,222 people in Liverpool. The response rates were 82% for the five first centres, and 87% in Liverpool so that there were 18,131 respondents at baseline. The only selection criterion for initial screening was age, respondents being 65 years old and over at baseline (1991–93) [34–44].
The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study's (HAAS) source population are survivors recruited in 1991 from the cohort of the Japanese-American men who were examined as part of the Honolulu Heart Program from 1965 to 1971 and re-examined in late age. The original cohort of 8,006 respondents included all men born between 1900 and 1919 and living on the island of Oahu and represented 65% of the target population. At the 1991 baseline there was a 79.8% response rate with 3,734 subjects taking part in the study of cognition (30% of the original cohort contacted in 1965). One of the major objectives of HAAS was to compare rates of dementia in a cohort of Japanese-American men in Hawaii with rates of Japanese living in Japan and the United States mainland [45–63].
The Cache County Study of Aging and Memory's (Cache County study) source population are residents (including those living in institutions) of Cache County, Utah (USA), who were aged 65 years or older on January 1, 1995. This population has an exceptional longevity, especially for men whose conditional life expectancy at age 65 is the highest in the United States and exceeds national averages by almost 10 years. There was an 89.7% response rate with 5,092 subjects taking part in the study at baseline [64–79].
Key information from the community-based neuropathological studies of old age dementia
Cache County study
1985 (for dementia prevalence)
Number of subjects eligible
1440 in 1992
Years for re-examination
2004- in progress
2004- in progress
Number of subjects followed initially (% of those eligible)
1436 (99.7%) in 1992
Age at start of study, mean (range) in years
Men 73 (65–92)
Women 74 (65–98)
% men at start of study
Number of brains collected
176 (1985–1992) + 105 (1998–2001)
225 (as of mid 2004)
305 (as of 2002)
103 (as of mid 2004)
559 (as of 2004)
65 (+5 whom have not completed clinical assessment) (as of 2002)
Clinical and neuropathological standards and tests followed by the selected studies
Cache County study
Dementia clinical diagnosis criteria
Screening tools and general measures for cognitive decline
Blessed dementia scale
Dementia type diagnosis criteria
Hasegawa's Dementia Scale
Neuropat hological investigation standards
Blood sample collected
* in some
* in some
X in some
* postmortem MRI on 145 brains
Depression diagnosis criteria
Hamilton Depression Scale
Clinical Interview for Depression
Nottingham Life Satisfaction Index
Zung Depression Status Inventory
Activities of Daily Living
Modified Townsend ALD Scale
Neurologic examination Hearing and vision tests
Videos East Boston Memory Tests
Examples of excluded studies
Additional File 1 shows examples of studies identified during the search but which did not meet the inclusion criterion in that respondents recruited to the neuropathological component should include all subgroups of the relevant local population. All the non-selected studies were based on people referred to various clinics, people living only in institutions or only in the community, people signed up on a non-universal health care system or volunteers. The geographical boundary was not a criterion that excluded studies in itself but chosen because it offers the clearest way of avoiding selection bias which may be related to dementia status. While many excellent population-based cohorts exist (PAQUID, ILSA, The Rotterdam Elderly Study, etc), few have collected neuropathological data [3–5, 80–89].
Hypotheses tested in the six existing population-based neuropathological studies
Additional File 2 shows the scope of investigations presented in publications from the six retained studies. A summary of the findings for a selected number of papers is included.
The key areas from these studies include:
Clinicopathological correlation and use of postmortem-confirmed diagnosis (most frequent type of published work);
Assessing standards and staging models;
Association between neuropathologies and risk factors;
Genetic investigation in relation to autopsy-confirmed diagnosis or specific neuropathologies.
Characteristics of the cohorts
All six studies chose their source populations according to geographical area and age. The Hisayama study, CFAS and the Cache County study selected for a population aged over 65, while HAAS selected for over 72, and CC75C for over 75. The Vantaa 85+ study included all individuals aged 85 and over thus representing the very elderly. Interpretation of findings must take these design strategies into account. For example, in a study of people surviving to 85+ years differential survival rates may affect genetic findings such as true homozygous for Apoe E4 individuals because they are at increased risk for premature death from cardiovascular disease and similar causes, and therefore likely to be underrepresented in populations of older individuals . Studying a very elderly population may introduce new sources of bias but also provide new insights.
By definition all six studies sought community-dwelling and institutionalised respondents. This requirement to include institutionalised persons in a representative community sample in dementia studies has been challenged. Based on a meta-analysis covering prevalence studies from 1945 to 1985, Jorm and colleagues found no effect on the overall prevalence rates of dementia . They argued that institutionalised individuals represent only a small proportion of the elderly population and thus effects are marginal. However, there are secular changes in institutional rates and variations across countries and cultures . In a German study of people over 75 (LEILA75+) it was found that institutionalised individuals were seven times more likely to be demented than community-dwelling individuals, but they were also older, more often single and less often married . In the CFAS population, 62% of those living in institutions were demented and represented 34% of those with dementia in the whole study cohort .
Each study population has characteristics which influence how generalisable the findings are, but which may also relate to the rationale behind selecting the study area. The Cache County study sample was chosen because it was not typical of the present USA population as a whole. A great majority of the respondents did not smoke or drink alcohol and 91% were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – factors which may contribute to the average longevity among men in the study that exceeds the USA national average by almost 10 years. HAAS is also restrictive in the sense that it only includes men, who do not represent the majority of dementia sufferers in the population. It was created out of several cohorts with a different initial purpose, which was the investigation of the effect of migration on vascular risk. It could be argued that these two studies are more akin to the selected cohort studies than to the true population-based studies in that there may be limited generalisability from their findings. CFAS is the only multicentre study mixing populations from both rural and urban settings but has little ethnic variation.
To date these studies have not presented their findings with any attempt to weight back to the population. For now, study size, initial response rate, and attrition are important factors that determine whether a study using an autopsy endpoint is truly population-based. Large study populations are needed for adequate statistical power to detect relationships between variables, such as the effect of specific gene polymorphisms. Initial response rates and follow-up rates need to be high, and maintained, to retain the representativeness of the group. All six studies showed high initial response rates. These range from 79.8% (HAAS, sampled from the 65% follow-up cohort studied from 1965–1971), to 92% (Vantaa 85+ and CC75C) and a remarkable 99.7% for the Hisayama study in the 1992-screening wave. Attrition varied across the studies. Due to the greater age of the baseline Vantaa 85+ respondents had a higher death rate between each follow-up compared to the other studies. Approximately one-half of the subjects had died by the 3-year follow-up but 97.3% of survivors were re-examined . In CC75C, the two-year incidence wave achieved 67% follow-up of all respondents, and an 81% follow-up of all survivors . Similar reporting of attrition is made in CFAS, HAAS and the Cache County study publications.
The problem of non-response can be especially important for the population study of cognitive status in the elderly because cognitive compromise is a predictor of non-response. Non-response in the Cache County study was related to lower levels of cognitive functioning, as measured by the MMSE, than initial responders . They also reported that the sample under-represented females, younger individuals and people from other ethnic or religious backgrounds than members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The CC75C study also reported a lower baseline MMSE score (-1.17) in those who did not participate at follow-up, although 15% of these non-responders were initially interviewed but did not complete the assessment . It is likely that these MMSE scores were disproportionately low at the interview and so the effect of MMSE on not being interviewed at all will not be as high as -1.17 . In CFAS, looking at longitudinal attrition, predictors for drop out due to death were being older, male, having impaired activities of daily living, poor self-perceived health, poor cognitive ability and smoking. Similarly individuals who refused were more likely to have poor cognitive ability but had less years in full-time education and were more often living in their own home though less likely to be living alone . Further investigation into the characteristics of those lost to follow-up after initial enrolment was not reported by the other selected studies. This also includes investigating those lost to follow-up because of death. The Vantaa 85+ study and CFAS report that death certificates were checked to identify new dementia cases among those who were not demented in the last interview. This strategy is undermined because the recording of dementia on death certificates is notoriously unreliable [98–100]. Other longitudinal studies of ageing and dementia have also suggested that mental status scores predict attrition  so that the influence of non-responders on the findings should not be minimised. In spite of this, none of the six studies could be excluded according to this criterion. These are all large population studies dealing with the older population where in any case high attrition is expected and where ethical approval usually does not allow approach of those who decline future participation.
How representative were the autopsy samples compared to all deaths in the initial cohorts?
In volunteer cohorts such as the Nun Study, very high rates of autopsy amongst the deaths are achieved. How do population-based studies compare? The six studies vary in the proportion of brains collected in relation to their sample populations. The Hisayama study and Vantaa 85+ have autopsied between 70% and 82% (depending on years) and 52% of respondents respectively. These are remarkable autopsy rates in the context of a global decline in autopsies . HAAS' autopsies were discussed with all examined participants at the 1991–93 and 1994–96 examinations and the study has collected 559 brains so far (equal to 15% of the number of participants at the 1991 baseline). CFAS has performed 470 autopsies and another 250 are pledged. This is equal to around 40% of those approached to take part in the donation programme. Factors such as whole body donation, non-notification of death, coordination difficulties or changes of decisions at or before death, all result in erosion of the 'population representativeness' of the autopsy cohort. The possibility that systematic biases relate to the willingness of respondents to countenance brain donation has not often been studied. In one study of healthy elderly people, agreement to brain donation was related only to age and the Cornell Depression Scale score. Older respondents (≥ 85 years of age) were more likely to consent to donation than younger ones . Another study investigating the differences in pre-morbid clinical diagnoses between autopsied and non-autopsied dementia patients, the autopsied individuals differed in age, race, and interval between the last clinical contact and death compared to those who did not . Those patients with early onset of disease (<65) were more likely to consent to autopsy than those whose illness began somewhat later in life. A key motivating factor for agreeing to post-mortem examination is personal knowledge of an AD patient . These findings are reassuring and suggest that even though autopsies are voluntary, they do not seem to be skewed to one segment of the demented population.
HAAS, Vantaa 85+, CFAS and CC75C have all addressed the representativeness of their autopsy group. In HAAS the autopsy sample was similar to the total cohort in terms of sociodemographic terms, cognitive status and late life cholesterol levels. The autopsy rate was approximately 50% among the participants who had been recognised as demented with the autopsy rates being similar for the four clinically diagnosed subtypes of dementia [45, 61]. Vantaa 85+ reported slight differences in the age and sex between the autopsied and the non-autopsied subpopulations . CFAS and CC75C used sampling strategies that enriched the autopsy sample to include older and more impaired respondents but other than these characteristics there was no clear indication that the donor sample differed from the general population in basic sociodemographic indicators [20, 34].
Even though brain donations may not be biased regarding dementia status, other factors could introduce error into the autopsy process such as lack of notification of the study team because of the place of death: hospital, institution or home. The rapid accessibility to the body and the idea that it is likely that cognitive decline has a difference course in patients who are institutionalised compared to those who remain at home until the end of their life both play a part in the generalisability of the findings. One must assess the impact of only including a small proportion of individuals who die at home in an autopsy study . HAAS clearly reported the place of death of its cohort members whom have undergone autopsy, this being 71% in the hospital. 13.1% at home, 11.2% in a nursing home and 4.6% in a hospice or other place  although none of the studies have reported on 'missed' autopsies.
Case identification, examination and in life diagnosis
Even if the initial cohort is population-based, studies may lose their population representation because of their case identification strategy. This arises if they rely on studying cases that have already come in contact with the health care system. For example, one of the excluded studies, the University of Washington Alzheimer's Disease Patient Registry (ADPR), uses a base population comprising members of a Group Health Cooperative with an attrition rate less than 1% per year. However, cases are found through the primary care physician network, referral from neurologists and mental health services or by monitoring events leading to the entry of demented patients into the health-care system . Dementia cases remaining in the community are therefore under-represented. There is no organised population-based or primary-care effort directed at the early detection of dementia in the USA and in the UK primary care physicians have reported that fewer than 50% have adequate basic and post-qualifying training for identifying dementia . One can fairly assume that many dementia cases go unnoticed in the health care system and that such a design results in a sample with limited population representation.
All the studies reported here have used direct interviewing of the populations identified with standardised assessments (Table 2). Clinical assignment of a dementia diagnosis was undertaken in three of the studies by consensus between expert clinicians. The Cache County study set up diagnostic conferences including geropsychiatric, neurology, neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience expertise and the final diagnosis was achieved using information from all phases of the study including the autopsy results. HAAS and Vantaa 85+ achieved clinical diagnosis through smaller clinician panels and CC75C used a single psychiatrist with inter-rater reliability tests. CFAS based its findings on a previously validated clinically based computer-assisted taxonomy (AGECAT) administered by trained lay research interviewers .
Neuropathological case confirmation
The comprehensiveness and comparability of the neuropathological investigation varies more in population settings. All more or less closely followed the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD) neuropathology protocol . This is in contrast to the broader variation in methods for clinical diagnosis (Table 2). Details of neuropathological investigations are yet not available in the published literature for the Cache County Study. In Vantaa 85+, besides completing the CERAD protocol, the NIA-RIA criteria was also adopted which emphasises topographic staging of neurofibrillary changes in addition to neuritic plaques [110, 111], and the investigators routinely sampled additional areas of the brain supplementing the usual techniques with immunocytochemical methods to enhance detection of amyloid and Lewy bodies. Regarding how many neuropathologists carried out the examination: in CFAS, the Hisayama study and HAAS, postmortem investigation was performed by several neuropathologists, while in the Vantaa 85+ study, for one study looking at brain infarctions, the examination was done by one pathologist. No information is given for the Cache County Study. Comparability of assessment has been checked within CFAS and HAAS.
The CERAD protocol gives guidelines for tissue fixation, tissue processing, sectioning and tissue staining. It provides a simple semiquantitative systematic gathering of information on clinical, neuropsychological and neuropathologic aspects reducing subjective interpretation [13, 112]. Nonetheless, the assignment of probability of a diagnosis of AD by the CERAD approach is based on concepts of clinicopathological correlation derived from cohort studies of selected cases and 'controls' so that it may represent a biased view of what burden of lesions are associated with a positive diagnosis for dementia. For instance, CERAD uses abundant neuritic plaques as a reference for AD case definition, reinforcing the concept of AD as a disorder of amyloidosis. The relationship between lesion burden and cognitive status, and the interactions between lesions, differs in a population sample from those in selected secondary referral cohorts of demented people . It is increasingly acknowledged that the proportion of normal elderly individuals with a substantial neuropathological burden is not negligible [34, 106, 113]. The logical aim of neuropathological studies of dementia, if no neuropathological 'gold standard' exists, would be to collect information in an unbiased way to test which diagnostic criteria are most valid and reliable.
The CERAD protocol was developed in the 1980s and is based on a paradigm which heavily relied on the significance of lesions such as neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques as the pathological substrate of cognitive decline. The accumulation of data from many studies over the last 15 years underline the limitations of this approach. The CERAD protocol ignores a number of pathological and biochemical advances which have identified additional targets, or refined the basis for quantifying pathologies, that are likely to have a closer link with cognitive decline or are additional pathologies that are not taken into account. These newer approaches include: biochemical estimations of soluble amyloid peptide load and aberrant tau accumulation in brain regions, synaptic density measurements, glial responses such as astrogliosis and microgliosis, severity of white matter attenuation. Finally CERAD provides no basis for assessing the significance of microvascular pathologies in the causation of cognitive decline.
A significant limitation is imposed through the necessity to adopt a validated pathology protocol with documented inter-laboratory comparability. In CERAD, 83% of raters showed consistency for plaque determination, whereas only 66% showed consistency for tangle determination. Despite this, apart from bias resulting from knowledge of dementia status before death, most of the other types of variation should produce non-systematic bias and therefore underestimate any relationship . Mirra has remarked that 'whether this variation is produced by differences in the phase of the moon or other indeterminate factors remains unclear, but, in my view, standardisation of methodology will be difficult to achieve' . The six studies report few measures taken to assure or measure quality in the neuropathological investigation. Blinding of the neuropathologist to clinical and risk factor data is reported for Vantaa 85+, CC75C and CFAS. Neuropathological inter-rater reliability was only described by CFAS.
Timing of data collection
Each study up-dated their data in life around every 2 years. In population studies it has been accepted that it is not feasible to have regular clinical follow-up until death for each member of a large study cohort despite the desirability of minimising the time interval between the last examination and death . This interval is critical in determining whether pathological features at autopsy are a reflection of the cognitive state at last interview. Health checks were done at least once a year in the Hisayama study. For Vantaa 85+ the average length of time from the last clinical examination to death was 0.99 y (range 0.05 – 2.35 y), for HAAS, the average was 2.4 y (SD 0.9 y) and for CFAS 1.2y (range of 3 d – 4.2 y; 81% within 2 y). In CC75C the study design and timing of the interview waves suggests the interval between last clinical examination and death is usually less than 3 years unless follow up interview was refused. Details have not been published yet for the Cache County study. Using various informant interviews may help in gaining a truer cognitive picture of the participant if delays between follow-up and death are considered too long. Studies which report the use of informant interviews can be found in (Table 2).
The timing of autopsy and methods of handling after death are also important for molecular studies. Formalin fixing plays a role in any future neuropathological examination and affects the sensitivity of the immunocytochemistry results. This variable depends on the work force available to complete the neuropathological examinations at the time of death and is thus dependent on the level of funding for the study and the relative importance given to such studies in their research and cultural contexts. None of the studies have reported time between death and autopsy although this is usually available in mortuary records.
Comparing and combining studies
Research based on community samples has the advantage that it allows the calculation of attributable risk, population attributable risk and population excess risk, which can all estimate how important a given factor is in a particular population. Each study has used similar neuropathological standards but this does not necessarily imply that the results are directly comparable. This is illustrated by the example of the classification of 'possible' and 'probable' cases of dementia. HAAS has described mutually exclusive subcategories of dementias: AD as primary cause, Vascular Dementia (VaD) as primary cause, mixed AD/VaD and other types of dementias  rather than risking misclassification of mixed cases; whereas in the Vantaa 85+ study, no 'mixed dementia' category is mentioned . Combining of clinical information should be possible if one goes back to specific measures within each study. Unfortunately there is little overlap in the areas investigated amongst the six existing population-based neuropathological studies so that a systematic review of their results is not possible.
Redefining the field
Despite all the effort put into setting up the studies and gathering evidence, these datasets remain as yet under-tapped resources. So far most population-based studies have used post-mortem information to test or validate clinical diagnoses. Few have taken the opportunity to challenge and re-characterise existing criteria. Until relatively recently clinicopathological studies have concentrated on clinically clear-cut cases of AD but these population-based studies have confirmed that there is considerable overlap in pathologies found in the demented and non-demented [20, 34, 45]. For example in HAAS, 33% of demented subjects' condition could not be attributed to any of four primary pathogenic processes or to a combination of them (vascular lesions, AD lesion patterns, hippocampal sclerosis and cortical Lewy bodies). The same heterogeneity of lesions was found in CC75C. In CFAS' first 209 autopsies, both cerebrovascular (78%) and Alzheimer type (70%) pathology were common. Dementia was present in 48% of whom 64% had features indicating probable or definite AD. 33% of the non-demented people, however, had equivalent densities of neocortical neuritic plaques. Some degree of neocortical neurofibrillary pathology was found in 61% of demented and 34% of non-demented individuals. Vascular lesions were equally common in both groups, although the proportion with multiple vascular pathology was higher in the demented group (46% vs. 33%). In the same way, Vantaa 85+ findings show that the prevalence of neuropathologically defined AD was 33% whereas the prevalence of clinically diagnosed AD was 16%. Although there was a correlation between clinical AD and neuropathological AD, 55% of individuals with neuropathologic AD were either in the non-demented group or in the Vascular dementia (VaD) or other clinical non-AD groups. On the other hand, 35% of those with clinical AD did not fulfil the neuropathologic criteria for AD used in the study. The Cache County study reported 21% of mixed dementia diagnosis using a consensus between clinical and autopsy findings.
The aim of this paper was to carry out a systematic review of all existing population-based neuropathological studies of old age dementia to assess the representativeness of their study populations and to review their neuropathological investigation methods. The review considers study design and the range of investigations undertaken. Referral and volunteer cohort studies tend to hold more complete and extensive information and have fewer problems in terms of attrition. Population-based studies on the other hand demand prodigious organisation and effort over a prolonged period and result in a potentially rich source of data to help understand the aetiology and pathogenesis of late life dementia with less bias. The six studies together with their 1,200+ brains directly relate to a base population of near 32,000 people. New work could be indicative such as testing genetic polymorphisms. They have the ability to take the valuable findings from clinical series and volunteer cohorts and estimate how important findings are for the community as they have the only setting which permit an unbiased extrapolation of the results to the general population. With their abundance of recorded clinical and neuropsychological information, these studies could help in the constructive challenge to existing neuropathological criteria and create new hypotheses about the biological substrates of cognitive, functional and behavioural changes with age. These studies are rare globally and can provide unique insights. Individually they are limited in power and scope; together they represent a powerful resource to translate findings from laboratory to populations.
We are grateful to Professor Sulkava for his information provided on the Vantaa 85+ study. JZ was in receipt of a Medical Research Council Ph.D. Fellowship, a Newton European Research Studentship and a Wingate Foundation Scholarship.
- Hofman A, Rocca WA, Brayne C, Breteler MM, Clarke M, Cooper B, Copeland JR, Dartigues JF, da Silva Droux A, Hagnell O: The prevalence of dementia in Europe: a collaborative study of 1980–1990 findings. Eurodem Prevalence Research Group. Int J Epidemiol. 1991, 20: 736-748.PubMed
- Nourhashemi F, Gillette-Guyonnet S, Andrieu S, Ghisolfi A, Ousset PJ, Grandjean H, Grand A, Pous J, Vellas B, Albarede JL: Alzheimer disease: protective factors. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000, 71: 643S-649S.PubMed
- Amaducci L: Italian Longitudinal Study on Ageing: incidence study of dementia. Neuroepidemiology. 1992, 11 (Suppl 1): 19-22.PubMed
- Dartigues JF, Gagnon M, Michel P, Letenneur L, Commenges D, Barberger-Gateau P, Auriacombe S, Rigal B, Bedry R, Alperovitch A, et al: [The Paquid research program on the epidemiology of dementia. Methods and initial results]. Rev Neurol (Paris). 1991, 147: 225-230.
- de Leeuw FE, de Groot JC, Achten E, Oudkerk M, Ramos LM, Heijboer R, Hofman A, Jolles J, van Gijn J, Breteler MM: Prevalence of cerebral white matter lesions in elderly people: a population based magnetic resonance imaging study. The Rotterdam Scan Study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2001, 70: 9-14. 10.1136/jnnp.70.1.9.PubMed CentralPubMed
- Kuller LH, Ganguli M, Ratcliff GG, Huff FJ, Belle SH, Detre KM: The University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer's Disease Patient Registry: the Monongahela Valley Independent Elders Survey (MoVIES). Aging (Milano). 1990, 2: 302-305.
- Waite LM, Broe GA, Creasey H, Grayson D, Edelbrock D, O'Toole B: Neurological signs, aging, and the neurodegenerative syndromes. Arch Neurol. 1996, 53: 498-502.PubMed
- Galasko D, Hansen LA, Katzman R, Wiederholt W, Masliah E, Terry R, Hill LR, Lessin P, Thal LJ: Clinical-neuropathological correlations in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Arch Neurol. 1994, 51: 888-895.PubMed
- Osuntokun BO, Bademosi O: Parkinsonism in the Nigerian African: a prospective study of 217 patients. East Afr Med J. 1979, 56: 597-607.PubMed
- Sackett DL: Bias in analytic research. J Chronic Dis. 1979, 32: 51-63. 10.1016/0021-9681(79)90012-2.PubMed
- Brayne C: Clinicopathological studies of the dementias from an epidemiological viewpoint. Br J Psychiatry. 1993, 162: 439-446.PubMed
- Kokmen E, Ozsarfati Y, Beard CM, O'Brien PC, Rocca WA: Impact of referral bias on clinical and epidemiological studies of Alzheimer's disease. J Clin Epidemiol. 1996, 49: 79-83. 10.1016/0895-4356(95)00031-3.PubMed
- Mirra SS, Heyman A, McKeel D, Sumi SM, Crain BJ, Brownlee LM, Vogel FS, Hughes JP, van Belle G, Berg L: The Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD). Part II. Standardization of the neuropathologic assessment of Alzheimer's disease. Neurology. 1991, 41: 479-486.PubMed
- Braak H, Braak E: Staging of Alzheimer's disease-related neurofibrillary changes. Neurobiol Aging. 1995, 16: 271-278. 10.1016/0197-4580(95)00021-6. discussion 278–284.PubMed
- Fujishima M, Kiyohara Y: Incidence and risk factors of dementia in a defined elderly Japanese population: the Hisayama study. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2002, 977: 1-8.PubMed
- Ueda K, Kawano H, Hasuo Y, Fujishima M: Prevalence and etiology of dementia in a Japanese community. Stroke. 1992, 23: 798-803.PubMed
- Ueda K, Hasuo Y, Ohmura T, Kiyohara Y, Kawano H, Kato I, Shinkawa A, Iwamoto H, Nakayama K, Omae T, et al: Causes of death in the elderly and their changing pattern in Hisayama, a Japanese community. Results from a long-term and autopsy-based study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1990, 38: 1332-1338.PubMed
- Wakisaka Y, Furuta A, Tanizaki Y, Kiyohara Y, Iida M, Iwaki T: Age-associated prevalence and risk factors of Lewy body pathology in a general population: the Hisayama study. Acta Neuropathol (Berl). 2003, 106: 374-382. 10.1007/s00401-003-0750-x.
- Yoshitake T, Kiyohara Y, Kato I, Ohmura T, Iwamoto H, Nakayama K, Ohmori S, Nomiyama K, Kawano H, Ueda K, et al: Incidence and risk factors of vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease in a defined elderly Japanese population: the Hisayama Study. Neurology. 1995, 45: 1161-1168.PubMed
- Xuereb JH, Brayne C, Dufouil C, Gertz H, Wischik C, Harrington C, Mukaetova-Ladinska E, McGee MA, O'Sullivan A, O'Connor D, Paykel ES, Huppert FA: Neuropathological findings in the very old. Results from the first 101 brains of a population-based longitudinal study of dementing disorders. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2000, 903: 490-496. 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2000.tb06404.x.PubMed
- Brayne C, Gill C, Huppert FA, Barkley C, Gehlhaar E, Girling DM, O'Connor DW, Paykel ES: Incidence of clinically diagnosed subtypes of dementia in an elderly population. Cambridge Project for Later Life. Br J Psychiatry. 1995, 167: 255-262.PubMed
- Paykel ES, Huppert FA, Brayne C: Incidence of dementia and cognitive decline in over-75s in Cambridge: overview of cohort study. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 1998, 33: 387-392. 10.1007/s001270050070.PubMed
- Paykel ES, Brayne C, Huppert FA, Gill C, Barkley C, Gehlhaar E, Beardsall L, Girling DM, Pollitt P, O'Connor D: Incidence of dementia in a population older than 75 years in the United Kingdom. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994, 51: 325-332.PubMed
- Mukaetova-Ladinska EB, Garcia-Siera F, Hurt J, Gertz HJ, Xuereb JH, Hills R, Brayne C, Huppert FA, Paykel ES, McGee M, Jakes R, Honer WG, Harrington CR, Wischik CM: Staging of cytoskeletal and beta-amyloid changes in human isocortex reveals biphasic synaptic protein response during progression of Alzheimer's disease. Am J Pathol. 2000, 157: 623-636.PubMed CentralPubMed
- Gertz HJ, Xuereb J, Huppert F, Brayne C, McGee MA, Paykel E, Harrington C, Mukaetova-Ladinska E, Arendt T, Wischik CM: Examination of the validity of the hierarchical model of neuropathological staging in normal aging and Alzheimer's disease. Acta Neuropathol (Berl). 1998, 95: 154-158. 10.1007/s004010050780.
- Gertz HJ, Xuereb JH, Huppert FA, Brayne C, Kruger H, McGee MA, Paykel ES, Harrington CR, Mukaetova-Ladinska EB, O'Connor DW, Wischik CM: The relationship between clinical dementia and neuropathological staging (Braak) in a very elderly community sample. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1996, 246: 132-136. 10.1007/BF02189114.PubMed
- Polvikoski T, Sulkava R, Myllykangas L, Notkola IL, Niinisto L, Verkkoniemi A, Kainulainen K, Kontula K, Perez-Tur J, Hardy J, Haltia M: Prevalence of Alzheimer's disease in very elderly people: a prospective neuropathological study. Neurology. 2001, 56: 1690-1696.PubMed
- Myllykangas L, Polvikoski T, Sulkava R, Verkkoniemi A, Crook R, Tienari PJ, Pusa AK, Niinisto L, O'Brien P, Kontula K, Hardy J, Haltia M, Perez-Tur J: Genetic association of alpha2-macroglobulin with Alzheimer's disease in a Finnish elderly population. Ann Neurol. 1999, 46: 382-390. 10.1002/1531-8249(199909)46:3<382::AID-ANA14>3.0.CO;2-5.PubMed
- Myllykangas L, Polvikoski T, Sulkava R, Notkola IL, Rastas S, Verkkoniemi A, Tienari PJ, Niinisto L, Hardy J, Perez-Tur J, Kontula K, Haltia M: Association of lipoprotein lipase Ser447Ter polymorphism with brain infarction: a population-based neuropathological study. Ann Med. 2001, 33: 486-492.PubMed
- Myllykangas L, Polvikoski T, Sulkava R, Verkkoniemi A, Tienari P, Niinisto L, Kontula K, Hardy J, Haltia M, Perez-Tur J: Cardiovascular risk factors and Alzheimer's disease: a genetic association study in a population aged 85 or over. Neurosci Lett. 2000, 292: 195-198. 10.1016/S0304-3940(00)01467-1.PubMed
- Polvikoski T, Sulkava R, Haltia M, Kainulainen K, Vuorio A, Verkkoniemi A, Niinisto L, Halonen P, Kontula K: Apolipoprotein E, dementia, and cortical deposition of beta-amyloid protein. N Engl J Med. 1995, 333: 1242-1247. 10.1056/NEJM199511093331902.PubMed
- Rastas S, Mattila K, Verkkoniemi A, Niinisto L, Juva K, Sulkava R, Lansimies E: Association of apolipoprotein E genotypes, blood pressure, blood lipids and ECG abnormalities in a general population aged 85+. BMC Geriatr. 2004, 4: 1-10.1186/1471-2318-4-1.PubMed CentralPubMed
- Myllykangas L, Polvikoski T, Reunanen K, Wavrant-De Vrieze F, Ellis C, Hernandez D, Sulkava R, Kontula K, Verkkoniemi A, Notkola IL, Hardy J, Perez-Tur J, Haltia MJ, Tienari PJ: ApoE epsilon3-haplotype modulates Alzheimer beta-amyloid deposition in the brain. Am J Med Genet. 2002, 114: 288-291. 10.1002/ajmg.10202.PubMed
- CFAS: Pathological correlates of late-onset dementia in a multicentre, community-based population in England and Wales. Neuropathology Group of the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS). Lancet. 2001, 357: 169-175. 10.1016/S0140-6736(00)03589-3.
- Yip AG, Brayne C, Easton D, Rubinsztein DC: Apolipoprotein E4 is only a weak predictor of dementia and cognitive decline in the general population. J Med Genet. 2002, 39: 639-643. 10.1136/jmg.39.9.639.PubMed CentralPubMed
- Brayne C, Spiegelhalter DJ, Dufouil C, Chi LY, Dening TR, Paykel ES, O'Connor DW, Ahmed A, McGee MA, Huppert FA: Estimating the true extent of cognitive decline in the old old. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1999, 47: 1283-1288.PubMed
- Neale R, Brayne C, Johnson AL: Cognition and survival: an exploration in a large multicentre study of the population aged 65 years and over. Int J Epidemiol. 2001, 30: 1383-1388. 10.1093/ije/30.6.1383.PubMed
- Taylor A, Ezquerra M, Bagri G, Yip A, Goumidi L, Cottel D, Easton D, Evans JG, Xuereb J, Cairns NJ, Amouyel P, Chartier-Harlin MC, Brayne C, Rubinsztein DC: Alzheimer disease is not associated with polymorphisms in the angiotensinogen and renin genes. Am J Med Genet. 2001, 105: 761-764. 10.1002/ajmg.10044.PubMed
- Fernando MS, O'Brien JT, Perry RH, English P, Forster G, McMeekin W, Slade JY, Golkhar A, Matthews FE, Barber R, Kalaria RN, Ince PG: Comparison of the pathology of cerebral white matter with post-mortem magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the elderly brain. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2004, 30: 385-395. 10.1111/j.1365-2990.2004.00550.x.PubMed
- Tysoe C, Galinsky D, Robinson D, Brayne CE, Easton DF, Huppert FA, Dening T, Paykel ES, Rubinsztein DC: Analysis of alpha-1 antichymotrypsin, presenilin-1, angiotensin-converting enzyme, and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase loci as candidates for dementia. Am J Med Genet. 1997, 74: 207-212. 10.1002/(SICI)1096-8628(19970418)74:2<207::AID-AJMG20>3.0.CO;2-L.PubMed
- Narain Y, Yip A, Murphy T, Brayne C, Easton D, Evans JG, Xuereb J, Cairns N, Esiri MM, Furlong RA, Rubinsztein DC: The ACE gene and Alzheimer's disease susceptibility. J Med Genet. 2000, 37: 695-697. 10.1136/jmg.37.9.695.PubMed CentralPubMed
- Taylor AE, Yip A, Brayne C, Easton D, Evans JG, Xuereb J, Cairns N, Esiri MM, Rubinsztein DC: Genetic association of an LBP-1c/CP2/LSF gene polymorphism with late onset Alzheimer's disease. J Med Genet. 2001, 38: 232-233. 10.1136/jmg.38.4.232.PubMed CentralPubMed
- Brayne C, Matthews FE, McGee MA, Jagger C: Health and ill-health in the older population in England and Wales. The Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS). Age Ageing. 2001, 30: 53-62. 10.1093/ageing/30.1.53.PubMed
- Cognitive function and dementia in six areas of England and Wales: the distribution of MMSE and prevalence of GMS organicity level in the MRC CFA Study. The Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC CFAS). Psychol Med. 1998, 28: 319-335. 10.1017/S0033291797006272.
- White L, Petrovitch H, Hardman J, Nelson J, Davis DG, Ross GW, Masaki K, Launer L, Markesbery WR: Cerebrovascular pathology and dementia in autopsied Honolulu-Asia Aging Study participants. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2002, 977: 9-23.PubMed
- Petrovitch H, White LR, Ross GW, Steinhorn SC, Li CY, Masaki KH, Davis DG, Nelson J, Hardman J, Curb JD, Blanchette PL, Launer LJ, Yano K, Markesbery WR: Accuracy of clinical criteria for AD in the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study, a population-based study. Neurology. 2001, 57: 226-234.PubMed
- Petrovitch H, Nelson J, Snowdon D, Davis DG, Ross GW, Li CY, White L: Microscope field size and the neuropathologic criteria for Alzheimer's disease. Neurology. 1997, 49: 1175-1176.PubMed
- Schatz IJ, Masaki K, Yano K, Chen R, Rodriguez BL, Curb JD: Cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program: a cohort study. Lancet. 2001, 358: 351-355. 10.1016/S0140-6736(01)05553-2.PubMed
- Foley D, Monjan A, Masaki K, Ross W, Havlik R, White L, Launer L: Daytime sleepiness is associated with 3-year incident dementia and cognitive decline in older Japanese-American men. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2001, 49: 1628-1632.PubMed
- Takeshita J, Masaki K, Ahmed I, Foley DJ, Li YQ, Chen R, Fujii D, Ross GW, Petrovitch H, White L: Are depressive symptoms a risk factor for mortality in elderly Japanese American men?: the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. Am J Psychiatry. 2002, 159: 1127-1132. 10.1176/appi.ajp.159.7.1127.PubMed
- Launer LJ, White LR, Petrovitch H, Ross GW, Curb JD: Cholesterol and neuropathologic markers of AD: a population-based autopsy study. Neurology. 2001, 57: 1447-1452.PubMed
- Havlik RJ, Foley DJ, Sayer B, Masaki K, White L, Launer LJ: Variability in midlife systolic blood pressure is related to late-life brain white matter lesions: the Honolulu-Asia Aging study. Stroke. 2002, 33: 26-30. 10.1161/hs0102.101890.PubMed
- Peila R, Rodriguez BL, Launer LJ: Type 2 diabetes, APOE gene, and the risk for dementia and related pathologies: The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. Diabetes. 2002, 51: 1256-1262.PubMed
- Launer LJ, Ross GW, Petrovitch H, Masaki K, Foley D, White LR, Havlik RJ: Midlife blood pressure and dementia: the Honolulu-Asia aging study. Neurobiol Aging. 2000, 21: 49-55. 10.1016/S0197-4580(00)00096-8.PubMed
- Petrovitch H, White LR, Izmirilian G, Ross GW, Havlik RJ, Markesbery W, Nelson J, Davis DG, Hardman J, Foley DJ, Launer LJ: Midlife blood pressure and neuritic plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and brain weight at death: the HAAS. Honolulu-Asia aging Study. Neurobiol Aging. 2000, 21: 57-62.PubMed
- Kalmijn S, Foley D, White L, Burchfiel CM, Curb JD, Petrovitch H, Ross GW, Havlik RJ, Launer LJ: Metabolic cardiovascular syndrome and risk of dementia in Japanese-American elderly men. The Honolulu-Asia aging study. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2000, 20: 2255-2260.PubMed
- Martin GM, Kukull WA: Do cultural differences affect Alzheimer disease?. Jama. 1996, 276: 993-995. 10.1001/jama.276.12.993.PubMed
- Kagan A, Harris BR, Winkelstein W, Johnson KG, Kato H, Syme SL, Rhoads GG, Gay ML, Nichaman MZ, Hamilton HB, Tillotson J: Epidemiologic studies of coronary heart disease and stroke in Japanese men living in Japan, Hawaii and California: demographic, physical, dietary and biochemical characteristics. J Chronic Dis. 1974, 27: 345-364. 10.1016/0021-9681(74)90014-9.PubMed
- Tyas SL, White LR, Petrovitch H, Webster Ross G, Foley DJ, Heimovitz HK, Launer LJ: Mid-life smoking and late-life dementia: the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. Neurobiol Aging. 2003, 24: 589-596. 10.1016/S0197-4580(02)00156-2.PubMed
- Laurin D, Masaki KH, Foley DJ, White LR, Launer LJ: Midlife dietary intake of antioxidants and risk of late-life incident dementia: the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2004, 159: 959-967. 10.1093/aje/kwh124.PubMed
- Pfeifer LA, White LR, Ross GW, Petrovitch H, Launer LJ: Cerebral amyloid angiopathy and cognitive function: the HAAS autopsy study. Neurology. 2002, 58: 1629-1634.PubMed
- White L, Petrovitch H, Ross GW, Masaki KH, Abbott R, Teng EL, Rodriguez B, Blanchette PL, Havlik R, Wergowske G, Chiu D, Foley D, Murdaugh C, Curb JD: Prevalence of Dementia in Older Japanese-American Men in Hawaii – The Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. Jama. 1996, 276: 955-960. 10.1001/jama.276.12.955.PubMed
- Havlik RJ, Izmirlian G, Petrovitch H, Ross GW, Masaki K, Curb JD, Saunders AM, Foley DJ, Brock D, Launer LJ, White L: APOE-epsilon4 predicts incident AD in Japanese-American men: the honolulu-asia aging study. Neurology. 2000, 54: 1526-1529.PubMed
- Miech RA, Breitner JC, Zandi PP, Khachaturian AS, Anthony JC, Mayer L: Incidence of AD may decline in the early 90s for men, later for women: The Cache County study. Neurology. 2002, 58: 209-218.PubMed
- Khachaturian AS, Gallo JJ, Breitner JC: Performance characteristics of a two-stage dementia screen in a population sample. J Clin Epidemiol. 2000, 53: 531-540. 10.1016/S0895-4356(99)00196-1.PubMed
- Tschanz JT, Corcoran C, Skoog I, Khachaturian AS, Herrick J, Hayden KM, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Calvert T, Norton MC, Zandi P, Breitner JC: Dementia: the leading predictor of death in a defined elderly population: the Cache County Study. Neurology. 2004, 62: 1156-1162.PubMed
- Zandi PP, Anthony JC, Khachaturian AS, Stone SV, Gustafson D, Tschanz JT, Norton MC, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Breitner JC: Reduced risk of Alzheimer disease in users of antioxidant vitamin supplements: the Cache County Study. Arch Neurol. 2004, 61: 82-88. 10.1001/archneur.61.1.82.PubMed
- Bigler ED, Lowry CM, Kerr B, Tate DF, Hessel CD, Earl HD, Miller MJ, Rice SA, Smith KH, Tschanz JT, Welsh-Bohmer K, Plassman B, Victoroff J: Role of white matter lesions, cerebral atrophy, and APOE on cognition in older persons with and without dementia: the Cache County, Utah, study of memory and aging. Neuropsychology. 2003, 17: 339-352. 10.1037/0894-4220.127.116.119.PubMed
- Zandi PP, Anthony JC, Hayden KM, Mehta K, Mayer L, Breitner JC: Reduced incidence of AD with NSAID but not H2 receptor antagonists: the Cache County Study. Neurology. 2002, 59: 880-886.PubMed
- Tschanz JT, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Skoog I, West N, Norton MC, Wyse BW, Nickles R, Breitner JC: Dementia diagnoses from clinical and neuropsychological data compared: the Cache County study. Neurology. 2000, 54: 1290-1296.PubMed
- Norton MC, Tschanz JA, Fan X, Plassman BL, Welsh-Bohmer KA, West N, Wyse BW, Breitner JC: Telephone adaptation of the Modified Mini-Mental State Exam (3MS). The Cache County Study. Neuropsychiatry Neuropsychol Behav Neurol. 1999, 12: 270-276.PubMed
- Lyketsos CG, Steinberg M, Tschanz JT, Norton MC, Steffens DC, Breitner JC: Mental and behavioral disturbances in dementia: findings from the Cache County Study on Memory in Aging. Am J Psychiatry. 2000, 157: 708-714. 10.1176/appi.ajp.157.5.708.PubMed
- Anthony JC, Breitner JC, Zandi PP, Meyer MR, Jurasova I, Norton MC, Stone SV: Reduced prevalence of AD in users of NSAIDs and H2 receptor antagonists: the Cache County study. Neurology. 2000, 54: 2066-2071.PubMed
- Norton MC, Breitner JC, Welsh KA, Wyse BW: Characteristics of nonresponders in a community survey of the elderly. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1994, 42: 1252-1256.PubMed
- Zandi PP, Carlson MC, Plassman BL, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Mayer LS, Steffens DC, Breitner JC: Hormone replacement therapy and incidence of Alzheimer disease in older women: the Cache County Study. Jama. 2002, 288: 2123-2129. 10.1001/jama.288.17.2123.PubMed
- Carlson MC, Zandi PP, Plassman BL, Tschanz JT, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Steffens DC, Bastian LA, Mehta KM, Breitner JC: Hormone replacement therapy and reduced cognitive decline in older women: the Cache County Study. Neurology. 2001, 57: 2210-2216.PubMed
- Steffens DC, Norton MC, Plassman BL, Tschanz JT, Wyse BW, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Anthony JC, Breitner JC: Enhanced cognitive performance with estrogen use in nondemented community-dwelling older women. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1999, 47: 1171-1175.PubMed
- Breitner JC, Wyse BW, Anthony JC, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Steffens DC, Norton MC, Tschanz JT, Plassman BL, Meyer MR, Skoog I, Khachaturian A: APOE-epsilon4 count predicts age when prevalence of AD increases, then declines: the Cache County Study. Neurology. 1999, 53: 321-331.PubMed
- Khachaturian AS, Corcoran CD, Mayer LS, Zandi PP, Breitner JC: Apolipoprotein E epsilon4 count affects age at onset of Alzheimer disease, but not lifetime susceptibility: The Cache County Study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004, 61: 518-524. 10.1001/archpsyc.61.5.518.PubMed
- Letenneur L, Dequae L, Jacqmin H, Nuissier J, Decamps A, Barberger-Gateau P, Commenges D, Dartigues JF: [Prevalence of dementia in Gironde (France)]. Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique. 1993, 41: 139-145.PubMed
- Helmer C, Letenneur L, Rouch I, Richard-Harston S, Barberger-Gateau P, Fabrigoule C, Orgogozo JM, Dartigues JF: Occupation during life and risk of dementia in French elderly community residents. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2001, 71: 303-309. 10.1136/jnnp.71.3.303.PubMed CentralPubMed
- Dartigues JF, Orgogozo JM, Letenneur L, Barberger-Gateau P: [French epidemiological bases for the treatment of dementia syndromes and cognitive impairment in the elderly]. Therapie. 1993, 48: 185-187.PubMed
- Dartigues JF, Gagnon M, Barberger-Gateau P, Letenneur L, Commenges D, Sauvel C, Michel P, Salamon R: The Paquid epidemiological program on brain ageing. Neuroepidemiology. 1992, 11 (Suppl 1): 14-18.PubMed
- Breteler MM, van den Ouweland FA, Grobbee DE, Hofman A: A community-based study of dementia: the Rotterdam Elderly Study. Neuroepidemiology. 1992, 11 (Suppl 1): 23-28.PubMed
- de Rijk MC, Breteler MM, Graveland GA, Ott A, Grobbee DE, van der Meche FG, Hofman A: Prevalence of Parkinson's disease in the elderly: the Rotterdam Study. Neurology. 1995, 45: 2143-2146.PubMed
- de Rijk MC, Rocca WA, Anderson DW, Melcon MO, Breteler MM, Maraganore DM: A population perspective on diagnostic criteria for Parkinson's disease. Neurology. 1997, 48: 1277-1281.PubMed
- Baldereschi M, Di Carlo A, Maggi S, Grigoletto F, Scarlato G, Amaducci L, Inzitari D: Dementia is a major predictor of death among the Italian elderly. ILSA Working Group. Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Neurology. 1999, 52: 709-713.PubMed
- Baldereschi M, Di Carlo A, Rocca WA, Vanni P, Maggi S, Perissinotto E, Grigoletto F, Amaducci L, Inzitari D: Parkinson's disease and parkinsonism in a longitudinal study: two-fold higher incidence in men. ILSA Working Group. Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Neurology. 2000, 55: 1358-1363.PubMed
- Di Carlo A, Baldereschi M, Amaducci L, Lepore V, Bracco L, Maggi S, Bonaiuto S, Perissinotto E, Scarlato G, Farchi G, Inzitari D: Incidence of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and vascular dementia in Italy. The ILSA Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002, 50: 41-48. 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2002.50006.x.PubMed
- Tsuang D, Kukull W, Sheppard L, Barnhart RL, Peskind E, Edland SD, Schellenberg G, Raskind M, Larson EB: Impact of sample selection on APOE epsilon 4 allele frequency: a comparison of two Alzheimer's disease samples. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1996, 44: 704-707.PubMed
- Jorm AF, Korten AE, Henderson AS: The prevalence of dementia: a quantitative integration of the literature. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1987, 76: 465-479.PubMed
- Ribbe MW, Ljunggren G, Steel K, Topinkova E, Hawes C, Ikegami N, Henrard JC, Jonnson PV: Nursing homes in 10 nations: a comparison between countries and settings. Age Ageing. 1997, 26 (Suppl 2): 3-12.PubMed
- Riedel-Heller SG, Schork A, Matschinger H, Angermeyer MC: Recruitment procedures and their impact on the prevalence of dementia. Results from the Leipzig Longitudinal Study of the Aged (LEILA75+). Neuroepidemiology. 2000, 19: 130-140. 10.1159/000026248.PubMed
- Matthews FE, Dening T: Prevalence of dementia in institutional care. Lancet. 2002, 360: 225-226. 10.1016/S0140-6736(02)09461-8.PubMed
- Juva K, Verkkoniemi A, Viramo P, Polvikoski T, Kainulainen K, Kontula K, Sulkava R: APOE epsilon4 does not predict mortality, cognitive decline, or dementia in the oldest old. Neurology. 2000, 54: 412-415.PubMed
- Matthews F, Chatfield M, Freeman C, McCracken C, Brayne C: Attrition and bias in the MRC cognitive function and ageing study: an epidemiological investigation. BMC Public Health. 2004, 4: 12-10.1186/1471-2458-4-12.PubMed CentralPubMed
- Matthews FE, Chatfield M, Freeman C, McCracken C, Brayne C: Attrition and bias in the MRC cognitive function and ageing study: an epidemiological investigation. BMC Public Health. 2004, 4: 12-10.1186/1471-2458-4-12.PubMed CentralPubMed
- Martyn CN, Pippard EC: Usefulness of mortality data in determining the geography and time trends of dementia. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1988, 42: 134-137.PubMed CentralPubMed
- Olichney JM, Hofstetter CR, Galasko D, Thal LJ, Katzman R: Death certificate reporting of dementia and mortality in an Alzheimer's disease research center cohort. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1995, 43: 890-893.PubMed
- Raiford K, Anton-Johnson S, Haycox Z, Nolan K, Schaffer A, Caimano C, Fillenbaum G, Heyman A: CERAD part VII: accuracy of reporting dementia on death certificates of patients with Alzheimer's disease. Neurology. 1994, 44: 2208-2209.PubMed
- Botwinick J, Storandt M, Berg L, Boland S: Senile dementia of the Alzheimer type. Subject attrition and testability in research. Arch Neurol. 1988, 45: 493-496.PubMed
- Haque AK, Patterson RC, Grafe MR: High autopsy rates at a university medical center. What has gone right?. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1996, 120: 727-732.PubMed
- Kaye JA, Dame A, Lehman S, Sexton G: Factors associated with brain donation among optimally healthy elderly people. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1999, 54: M560-564.PubMed
- Harrell LE, Callaway R, Powers R: Autopsy in dementing illness: who participates?. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 1993, 7: 80-87.PubMed
- Schmitt FA, Wetherby MM, Wekstein DR, Dearth CM, Markesbery WR: Brain donation in normal aging: procedures, motivations, and donor characteristics from the Biologically Resilient Adults in Neurological Studies (BRAiNS) Project. Gerontologist. 2001, 41: 716-722.PubMed
- Alperovitch A, Hauw JJ: Neuropathological diagnoses in epidemiologic studies. Neuroepidemiology. 1992, 11 (Suppl 1): 100-105.PubMed
- Larson EB, Kukull WA, Teri L, McCormick W, Pfanschmidt M, van Belle G, Sumi M: University of Washington Alzheimer's Disease Patient Registry (ADPR): 1987–1988. Aging (Milano). 1990, 2: 404-408.
- OECD: Dementia Care in 9 OECD countries: a comparative analysis. 2004, [http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/10/52/33661491.pdf]
- Copeland JR, Dewey ME: Neuropsychological diagnosis (GMS-HAS-AGECAT package). International Psychogeriatrics. 1991, 3: 43-39.
- Newell KL, Hyman BT, Growdon JH, Hedley-Whyte ET: Application of the National Institute on Aging (NIA)-Reagan Institute criteria for the neuropathological diagnosis of Alzheimer disease. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1999, 58: 1147-1155.PubMed
- Consensus: Consensus recommendations for the postmortem diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The National Institute on Aging, and Reagan Institute Working Group on Diagnostic Criteria for the Neuropathological Assessment of Alzheimer's Disease. Neurobiol Aging. 1997, 18: S1-2. 10.1016/S0197-4580(97)00057-2.
- Morris JC: Clinical dementia rating: a reliable and valid diagnostic and staging measure for dementia of the Alzheimer type. Int Psychogeriatr. 1997, 9 (Suppl 1): 173-176. 10.1017/S1041610297004870. discussion 177–178.PubMed
- Davis DG, Schmitt FA, Wekstein DR, Markesbery WR: Alzheimer neuropathologic alterations in aged cognitively normal subjects. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1999, 58: 376-388.PubMed
- Mirra SS: The CERAD neuropathology protocol and consensus recommendations for the postmortem diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: a commentary. Neurobiol Aging. 1997, 18: S91-94. 10.1016/S0197-4580(97)00058-4.PubMed
- Last JM: A dictionary of epidemiology. 2001, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 4
- Teng EL, Chui HC: The Modified Mini-Mental State (3MS) examination. J Clin Psychiatry. 1987, 48: 314-318.PubMed
- Chui HC, Victoroff JI, Margolin D, Jagust W, Shankle R, Katzman R: Criteria for the diagnosis of ischemic vascular dementia proposed by the State of California Alzheimer's Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centers. Neurology. 1992, 42: 473-480.PubMed
- Townsend P: The Last Refuge. 1962, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul
- Copeland JR, Dewey ME, Griffiths-Jones HM: A computerized psychiatric diagnostic system and case nomenclature for elderly subjects: GMS and AGECAT. Psychol Med. 1986, 16: 89-99.PubMed
- Blessed G, Black SE, Butler T, Kay DW: The diagnosis of dementia in the elderly. A comparison of CAMCOG (the cognitive section of CAMDEX), the AGECAT program, DSM-III, the Mini-Mental State Examination and some short rating scales. Br J Psychiatry. 1991, 159: 193-198.PubMed
- Roth M, Tym E, Mountjoy CQ, Huppert FA, Hendrie H, Verma S, Goddard R: CAMDEX. A standardised instrument for the diagnosis of mental disorder in the elderly with special reference to the early detection of dementia. Br J Psychiatry. 1986, 149: 698-709.PubMed
- Teng EL, Hasegawa K, Homma A, Imai Y, Larson E, Graves A, Sugimoto K, Yamaguchi T, Sasaki H, Chiu D, et al: The Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI): a practical test for cross-cultural epidemiological studies of dementia. Int Psychogeriatr. 1994, 6: 45-58. 10.1017/S1041610294001602. discussion 62.PubMed
- Hughes CP, Berg L, Danziger WL, Coben LA, Martin RL: A new clinical scale for the staging of dementia. Br J Psychiatry. 1982, 140: 566-572.PubMed
- Clark CM, Ewbank DC: Performance of the dementia severity rating scale: a caregiver questionnaire for rating severity in Alzheimer disease. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 1996, 10: 31-39.PubMed
- Copeland JR, Dewey ME, Wood N, Searle R, Davidson IA, McWilliam C: Range of mental illness among the elderly in the community. Prevalence in Liverpool using the GMS-AGECAT package. Br J Psychiatry. 1987, 150: 815-823.PubMed
- Lawton MP, Brody EM: Assessment of older people: self-maintaining and instrumental activities of daily living. Gerontologist. 1969, 9: 179-186.PubMed
- Jorm AF, Jacomb PA: The Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE): socio-demographic correlates, reliability, validity and some norms. Psychol Med. 1989, 19: 1015-1022.PubMed
- Roman GC, Tatemichi TK, Erkinjuntti T, Cummings JL, Masdeu JC, Garcia JH, Amaducci L, Orgogozo JM, Brun A, Hofman A, et al: Vascular dementia: diagnostic criteria for research studies. Report of the NINDS-AIREN International Workshop. Neurology. 1993, 43: 250-260.PubMed
- Folstein MF, Folstein SE, McHugh PR: "Mini-mental state". A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. J Psychiatr Res. 1975, 12: 189-198. 10.1016/0022-3956(75)90026-6.PubMed
- Hachinski VC, Iliff LD, Zilhka E, Du Boulay GH, McAllister VL, Marshall J, Russell RW, Symon L: Cerebral blood flow in dementia. Arch Neurol. 1975, 32: 632-637.PubMed
- Rosen WG, Terry RD, Fuld PA, Katzman R, Peck A: Pathological verification of ischemic score in differentiation of dementias. Ann Neurol. 1980, 7: 486-488. 10.1002/ana.410070516.PubMed
- McKhann G, Drachman D, Folstein M, Katzman R, Price D, Stadlan EM: Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: report of the NINCDS-ADRDA Work Group under the auspices of Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease. Neurology. 1984, 34: 939-944.PubMed
- Pfeiffer E: A short portable mental status questionnaire for the assessment of organic brain deficit in elderly patients. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1975, 23: 433-441.PubMed
- Seno H, Ishino H, Inagaki T, Iijima M, Kaku K, Inata T, Hirai M: A neuropathological study of dementia in nursing homes in Shimane prefecture, Japan: evaluation of the age and gender effect. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1999, 54: M312-314.PubMed
- Wilson RS, Bienias JL, Mendes de Leon CF, Evans DA, Bennett DA: Negative affect and mortality in older persons. Am J Epidemiol. 2003, 158: 827-835. 10.1093/aje/kwg224.PubMed
- Snowdon DA, Kemper SJ, Mortimer JA, Greiner LH, Wekstein DR, Markesbery WR: Linguistic ability in early life and cognitive function and Alzheimer's disease in late life. Findings from the Nun Study. Jama. 1996, 275: 528-532. 10.1001/jama.275.7.528.PubMed
- Aronson MK, Ooi WL, Geva DL, Masur D, Blau A, Frishman W: Dementia. Age-dependent incidence, prevalence, and mortality in the old old. Arch Intern Med. 1991, 151: 989-992. 10.1001/archinte.151.5.989.PubMed
- Green MS, Kaye JA, Ball MJ: The Oregon brain aging study: neuropathology accompanying healthy aging in the oldest old. Neurology. 2000, 54: 105-113. 10.1159/000053242.PubMed
- Troncoso JC, Martin LJ, Dal Forno G, Kawas CH: Neuropathology in controls and demented subjects from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Neurobiol Aging. 1996, 17: 365-371. 10.1016/0197-4580(96)00028-0.PubMed
- Fischer P, Lassmann H, Jellinger K, Simanyi M, Bancher C, Travniczek-Marterer A, Gatterer G, Danielczyk W: [Alzheimer dementia. A clinical long-term study with quantitative neuropathology]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1991, 141: 455-462.PubMed
- Fernando MS, Ince PG: Vascular pathologies and cognition in a population-based cohort of elderly people. J Neurol Sci. 2004, 226: 13-17. 10.1016/j.jns.2004.09.004.PubMed
- Brayne C, Harrington CR, Wischik CM, Huppert FA, Chi LY, Xuereb JH, O'Connor DW, Paykel ES: Apolipoprotein E genotype in the prediction of cognitive decline and dementia in a prospectively studied elderly population. Dementia. 1996, 7: 169-174.PubMed
- Cambridge City over 75 Cohort Study (CC75C). [http://www.mrc-bsu.cam.ac.uk/cc75c/]
- The pre-publication history for this paper can be accessed here:http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2377/6/2/prepub
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.