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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1991 Mar;39(3):246-51.

The progression of mild idiopathic dementia in a community population.

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Heatherton Hospital, Victoria, Australia.


Thirty-one subjects aged 75 years and over who were identified as suffering from mild, idiopathic dementia in a large community survey were reviewed at annual intervals for 2 years. Diagnoses and severity ratings were based on defined criteria following a mental state examination, a medical and psychiatric history, detailed cognitive testing, and an interview with relatives or other key informants. Fourteen subjects became more severely demented within 2 years. The initial cognitive test battery failed to reveal any differences between respondents whose dementia advanced and those whose condition remained unchanged, but, in the former group, subjects' symptoms had been present for longer, and a greater proportion had been recognised as demented, or possibly demented, by their general practitioners. We suggest that subjects whose dementia progressed had actually been more severely disabled at the time of identification.

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