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The Prevalence and Malignancy of Alzheimer Disease: A Major Killer

The Prevalence and Malignancy of Alzheimer Disease: A Major Killer Abstract An accompanying letter to the editor (p 304) provides another illustration of the malignancy of Alzheimer disease, a phenomenon well known to neurologists. Katzman and Karasu1 estimate that the senile form of Alzheimer disease may rank as the fourth or fifth most common cause of death in the United States. Yet the US vital statistics tables do not list "Alzheimer disease," "senile dementia," or "senility" as a cause of death, even in the extended list of 263 causes of death. The argument that Alzheimer disease is a major killer rests on the assumption that Alzheimer disease and senile dementia are a single process and should, therefore, be considered a single disease. Both Alzheimer disease and senile dementia are progressive dementias with similar changes in mental and neurological status that are indistinguishable by careful clinical analyses.2,3 The pathological findings are identical—atrophy of the brain, marked loss of neurons References 1. Katzman R, Karasu TB: Differential diagnosis of dementia , in Fields W (ed): Neurological and Sensory Disorders in the Elderly . New York, Stratton Intercontinental Medical Book Corp, 1975, pp 103-134. 2. Newton RD: The identity of Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia and their relationship to senility . J Ment Sci- 94:225-249, 1948. 3. Neumann MA, Cohn R: Incidence of Alzheimer's disease in a large mental hospital . Arch Neurol 69:615-636, 1963. 4. Tomlinson BE, Blessed G, Roth M: Observations on the brains of demented old people . J Neurol Sci 11:205-242, 1970.Crossref 5. Blessed G, Tomlinson BE, Roth M: The association between quantitative measures of dementia and of senile changes in the cerebral gray matter of elderly subjects . Br J Psychiatry 114:797-811, 1968.Crossref 6. Larsson T, Sjogren T, Jacobson G: Senile dementia . Acta Psychiatr Scand 39( (suppl 167) ):3-259, 1963. 7. Constantinidis J, Garrone G, Ajuriaguerra J: L'Heredite des demences de l'age avance . Encephale 51:301-344, 1962. 8. Fisher CM: Dementia in cerebral vascular disease , in Toole JF, Siekert RG, Whisnant JP (eds): Cerebral Vascular Diseases . New York, Grune & Stratton Inc, 1968, pp 232-236. 9. Sheldon JH: The Social Medicine of Old Age . London, Oxford University Press, 1948. 10. Bremer J: A social psychiatric investigation of a small community in northern Norway . Acta Psychiatr Neurol Scand , (suppl 62) , 1951. 11. Essen-Möller E: Individual traits and morbidity in a Swedish rural population . Acta Psychiatr Neurol Scand , (suppl 100) , 1956. 12. Primrose EJR: Psychological Illness: A Community Study . Philadelphia, JB Lippincott Co, 1962, pp 1-60. 13. Nielsen J: Geronto-psychiatric periodprevalence investigation in a geographically delimited population . Acta Psychiat Scand 38:307-339, 1963.Crossref 14. Kay DWK, Beamish P, Roth M: Old age mental disorders in Newcastle-upon-Tyne: I. A study of prevalence . Br J Psychiatry 110:146-158, 1964.Crossref 15. Slater E, Roth M: Clinical Psychiatry , ed 3. Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins Co, 1969. 16. Corsellis JAN: Mental Illness and the Ageing Brain . London, Oxford University Press, 1962. 17. Roth M: The natural history of mental disorder in old age . J Ment Sci 101:281-301, 1955. 18. Kay DWK, Norris V, Post F: Prognosis in psychiatric disorders of the elderly: An attempt to define indications of early death and early recovery . J Ment Sci 102:129-140, 1956. 19. Epstein L, Simon A, Mock R: Clinical neuropathologic correlates in senile and cerebral arteriosclerotic psychoses , in Hansen P (ed): Old Age With a Future . Copenhagen, Munksgaard, 1964, pp 272-275. 20. Peck A, Wolloch L, Rodstein M: Mortality of the aged with chronic brain syndrome . J Am Geriatr Soc 21:264-270, 1973. 21. Kay DWK: Outcome and cause of death in mental disorders of old age: A long-term follow-up of functional and organic psychoses . Acta Psychiatr Scand 38:249-276, 1962.Crossref 22. Wang HA, Whanger A: Brain impairment and longevity , in Palmore E, Jeffers FC (eds): Prediction of Life Span . Lexington, Mass, DC Heath & Co, 1971, pp 95-105. 23. Vital Statistics of the United States. US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1968, vol 2, pt A, pp 1-11. 24. The World Almanac and Book of Facts. New York, Doubleday & Co Inc, 1974, p 1018. 25. Paulson GW, Perrine G Jr: Cerebral vascular disease in mental hospitals , in Toole JF, Siekert RG, Whisnant JP (eds): Cerebral Vascular Disease . New York, Grune & Stratton Inc, 1968, pp 237-241. 26. Kral VA: Senescent forgetfulness: Benign and malignant . Can Med Assoc J 86:257-260, 1962. 27. Palmore ER: Normal Aging: Reports From the Duke Longitudinal Study . Durham, NC, Duke University Press, 1974. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Neurology American Medical Association

The Prevalence and Malignancy of Alzheimer Disease: A Major Killer

Archives of Neurology , Volume 33 (4) – Apr 1, 1976

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1976 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0003-9942
eISSN
1538-3687
DOI
10.1001/archneur.1976.00500040001001
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract An accompanying letter to the editor (p 304) provides another illustration of the malignancy of Alzheimer disease, a phenomenon well known to neurologists. Katzman and Karasu1 estimate that the senile form of Alzheimer disease may rank as the fourth or fifth most common cause of death in the United States. Yet the US vital statistics tables do not list "Alzheimer disease," "senile dementia," or "senility" as a cause of death, even in the extended list of 263 causes of death. The argument that Alzheimer disease is a major killer rests on the assumption that Alzheimer disease and senile dementia are a single process and should, therefore, be considered a single disease. Both Alzheimer disease and senile dementia are progressive dementias with similar changes in mental and neurological status that are indistinguishable by careful clinical analyses.2,3 The pathological findings are identical—atrophy of the brain, marked loss of neurons References 1. Katzman R, Karasu TB: Differential diagnosis of dementia , in Fields W (ed): Neurological and Sensory Disorders in the Elderly . New York, Stratton Intercontinental Medical Book Corp, 1975, pp 103-134. 2. Newton RD: The identity of Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia and their relationship to senility . J Ment Sci- 94:225-249, 1948. 3. Neumann MA, Cohn R: Incidence of Alzheimer's disease in a large mental hospital . Arch Neurol 69:615-636, 1963. 4. Tomlinson BE, Blessed G, Roth M: Observations on the brains of demented old people . J Neurol Sci 11:205-242, 1970.Crossref 5. Blessed G, Tomlinson BE, Roth M: The association between quantitative measures of dementia and of senile changes in the cerebral gray matter of elderly subjects . Br J Psychiatry 114:797-811, 1968.Crossref 6. Larsson T, Sjogren T, Jacobson G: Senile dementia . Acta Psychiatr Scand 39( (suppl 167) ):3-259, 1963. 7. Constantinidis J, Garrone G, Ajuriaguerra J: L'Heredite des demences de l'age avance . Encephale 51:301-344, 1962. 8. Fisher CM: Dementia in cerebral vascular disease , in Toole JF, Siekert RG, Whisnant JP (eds): Cerebral Vascular Diseases . New York, Grune & Stratton Inc, 1968, pp 232-236. 9. Sheldon JH: The Social Medicine of Old Age . London, Oxford University Press, 1948. 10. Bremer J: A social psychiatric investigation of a small community in northern Norway . Acta Psychiatr Neurol Scand , (suppl 62) , 1951. 11. Essen-Möller E: Individual traits and morbidity in a Swedish rural population . Acta Psychiatr Neurol Scand , (suppl 100) , 1956. 12. Primrose EJR: Psychological Illness: A Community Study . Philadelphia, JB Lippincott Co, 1962, pp 1-60. 13. Nielsen J: Geronto-psychiatric periodprevalence investigation in a geographically delimited population . Acta Psychiat Scand 38:307-339, 1963.Crossref 14. Kay DWK, Beamish P, Roth M: Old age mental disorders in Newcastle-upon-Tyne: I. A study of prevalence . Br J Psychiatry 110:146-158, 1964.Crossref 15. Slater E, Roth M: Clinical Psychiatry , ed 3. Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins Co, 1969. 16. Corsellis JAN: Mental Illness and the Ageing Brain . London, Oxford University Press, 1962. 17. Roth M: The natural history of mental disorder in old age . J Ment Sci 101:281-301, 1955. 18. Kay DWK, Norris V, Post F: Prognosis in psychiatric disorders of the elderly: An attempt to define indications of early death and early recovery . J Ment Sci 102:129-140, 1956. 19. Epstein L, Simon A, Mock R: Clinical neuropathologic correlates in senile and cerebral arteriosclerotic psychoses , in Hansen P (ed): Old Age With a Future . Copenhagen, Munksgaard, 1964, pp 272-275. 20. Peck A, Wolloch L, Rodstein M: Mortality of the aged with chronic brain syndrome . J Am Geriatr Soc 21:264-270, 1973. 21. Kay DWK: Outcome and cause of death in mental disorders of old age: A long-term follow-up of functional and organic psychoses . Acta Psychiatr Scand 38:249-276, 1962.Crossref 22. Wang HA, Whanger A: Brain impairment and longevity , in Palmore E, Jeffers FC (eds): Prediction of Life Span . Lexington, Mass, DC Heath & Co, 1971, pp 95-105. 23. Vital Statistics of the United States. US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1968, vol 2, pt A, pp 1-11. 24. The World Almanac and Book of Facts. New York, Doubleday & Co Inc, 1974, p 1018. 25. Paulson GW, Perrine G Jr: Cerebral vascular disease in mental hospitals , in Toole JF, Siekert RG, Whisnant JP (eds): Cerebral Vascular Disease . New York, Grune & Stratton Inc, 1968, pp 237-241. 26. Kral VA: Senescent forgetfulness: Benign and malignant . Can Med Assoc J 86:257-260, 1962. 27. Palmore ER: Normal Aging: Reports From the Duke Longitudinal Study . Durham, NC, Duke University Press, 1974.

Journal

Archives of NeurologyAmerican Medical Association

Published: Apr 1, 1976

References