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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2013 May 10;62(18):347-50.

Self-reported increased confusion or memory loss and associated functional difficulties among adults aged ≥ 60 years - 21 States, 2011.


Declines in cognitive function vary among persons and can include changes in attention, memory, learning, executive function, and language capabilities that negatively affect quality of life, personal relationships, and the capacity for making informed decisions about health care and other matters. Memory problems typically are one of the first warning signs of cognitive decline, and mild cognitive impairment might be present when memory problems are greater than normal for a person's age but not as severe as problems experienced with Alzheimer's disease. Some, but not all, persons with mild cognitive impairment develop Alzheimer's disease; others can recover from mild cognitive impairment if certain causes (e.g., medication side effects or depression) are detected and treated. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, calling for expanding data collection and surveillance efforts to track the prevalence and impact of Alzheimer's and other types of dementia (4). To estimate the prevalence of self-reported increased confusion or memory loss and associated functional difficulties among adults aged ≥60 years, CDC analyzed data from 21 states that administered an optional module in the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. The results indicated that 12.7% of respondents reported increased confusion or memory loss in the preceding 12 months. Among those reporting increased confusion or memory loss, 35.2% reported experiencing functional difficulties. These results provide baseline information about the number of noninstitutionalized older adults with increased confusion or memory loss that is causing functional difficulties and might require services and supports now or in the future.

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