MONDAY, Nov. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — More than half of individuals with Down syndrome aged 55 years or older have dementia claims and 32.7 percent have Alzheimer disease (AD) claims, according to a research letter published online Oct. 28 in JAMA Neurology.

Eric Rubenstein, Ph.D., from the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues describe the prevalence and incidence of dementia and AD in a Medicaid population of 2,968 adults with DS in Wisconsin from 2008 through 2018.

The researchers found that 52.2 and 32.7 percent of 938 individuals aged 55 years or older had dementia claims and AD claims, respectively; dementia incidence was 102 cases per 1,000 person-years. Among 1,013 individuals aged 40 to 54 years, 18.8 percent had dementia claims, and dementia incidence was 49 cases per 1,000 person-years. Over 11 years of enrollment, the probability of an incidence claim was 40 and 67 percent for adults aged 40 to 54 years and 55 years or older at cohort entry, respectively. Among individuals younger than 40 years and among those aged 55 years or older, there were no sex differences in prevalence; in individuals aged 40 to 54 years, dementia prevalence was higher in women than men (prevalence ratio, 1.23).

“Dementia and AD prevalence and incidence in Medicaid beneficiaries with DS highlight the need to identify prodromal presentations and develop dementia services and supports for adults with DS as they age and continue to rely on Medicaid and Medicaid-funded assisted living or skilled nursing facilities,” the authors write.

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