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Neuroepidemiology. 2006;27(4):177-87. Epub 2006 Oct 11.

Socio-demographic variation of dementia subtypes in china: Methodology and results of a prevalence study in Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Xian.

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Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, PR China.



To characterize sociodemographic variations in the prevalence of AD and VaD in China.


Data were collected in a 1997-1998, cross-sectional, door-to-door prevalence survey of 34,807 community residents ages > or =55 years in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Xian. Initial diagnoses of AD and VaD were assessed by clinicians using standardized protocols, according to the NINCDS-ADRDA and NINDS-AIREN criteria; diagnoses were confirmed after 6 months by repeating neuropsychological evaluations. Prevalence odds ratios were estimated in logistic models adjusting for survey design, age, and other sociodemographic factors.


We identified 732 prevalent cases of AD and 295 cases of VaD. Adjusting for all sociodemographic factors concurrently, prevalence odds of AD and VaD were higher in northern versus southern China. Age trends for AD appeared different in western and eastern China. AD also showed an age-adjusted elevation among women and, in the fully adjusted model, a gender education interaction indicating a female preponderance in the highest education group. North-south variation for VaD was age-dependent. In the fully adjusted model, for AD, widowed had significantly higher prevalence odds; for VaD, widowed persons and minorities had significantly lower prevalence odds; professionals had statistically significant and borderline lower prevalence odds for both VaD and AD; sales-service occupations had significantly lower odds for AD only.


We observed variations in prevalence for AD and VaD in different regions and demographic groups in China that persisted after controlling for potential confounding factors. Sociodemographic factors are probable surrogates for conditions such as lifestyle, environment, comorbidities, and life expectancy.

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