THURSDAY, March 31, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Rates of memory concerns among older adults remained stable, but the incidence of cognitive decline more than doubled between 2009 and 2018, according to a U.K. study published March 24 in Clinical Epidemiology.

Brendan Hallam, from University College London, and colleagues investigated time trends in incidence of recorded memory concerns and cognitive decline among older adults (aged 65 to 99 years) presenting to primary care with no prior diagnosis of dementia. The analysis included 55,941 individuals seen from 2009 through 2018.

The researchers found that 4.3 percent of older adults had a record of incident memory concerns, with rates fairly stable over the decade of study. Incident cognitive decline was seen in 1.1 percent of older adults, with rates increasing from 1.29 per 1,000 person-years at risk (PYAR) in 2009 to 3.49 per 1,000 PYAR in 2018. Just under half of individuals (45.5 percent) with a recorded memory concern received a diagnosis of dementia within three years, while 51.7 percent of those with a record of cognitive decline received a dementia diagnosis. A record of either a memory concern or cognitive decline was more likely among women, people in older age groups (older than 80 years), and those living in more deprived areas.

“Incidence rates of memory concern and cognitive decline estimated from routinely collected primary care data are lower than those reported in community surveys, suggesting that a minority of people who experience memory loss consult their general practitioner and have it recorded,” the authors write.

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