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NeuroepidemiologyFrom principles to practice$
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Lorene M. Nelson, Caroline M. Tanner, Stephen Van Den Eeden, and Valarie M. McGuire

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195133790

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195133790.001.0001

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Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia

5 Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia

Lorene M. Nelson

Caroline M. Tanner

Stephen K. Van Den Eeden

Valerie M. McGuire

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the frequency with which dementing illnesses occur in populations, their distributions by personal characteristics, and what is known about their causes and potential protective factors. The primary focus is on the most common forms of dementia: Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. The chapter summarizes clinical and pathologic features of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, and highlights recent theories of how risk factors affect brain reserve. With the evolution of the epidemiology of dementia from case-control studies to prospective cohort studies has come a new set of methodological challenges. These include identification of representative populations, enhancing subject participation and retention in studies, the need to include institutionalized as well as community-dwelling populations, the non-standardized use of cognitive tests to screen for dementia, and the complexities of the diagnostic process itself. Finally, the chapter summarizes risk and protective factors for disease expression, including cardiovascular risk factors, lifestyle factors, and factors that affect brain reserve.

Keywords:   dementia, Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, brain reserve, cognitive reserve, risk factors, community-dwelling populations, case definition

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