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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2001 Apr;49(4):477-84.

Dementia and race: are there differences between African Americans and Caucasians?

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Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06504, USA.


This study provides an overview of racial differences in etiology and prevalence of dementia. Preliminary findings indicate that the clinical and molecular etiologies of dementia differ between races. African Americans have a higher prevalence of vascular dementia and a lower prevalence of Parkinsonian dementia than do Caucasians. The genetic etiologies of Alzheimer's-type dementia appear to differ between African Americans and Caucasians. The variations in dementia etiologies and in cognitive testing accuracy between races suggests the urgent need to develop racially appropriate cognitive assessment methods and to develop preventive and treatment etiologies differently according to racial background of individual patients.

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