THURSDAY, June 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Older adults with schizophrenia have an increased risk for receiving a diagnosis of dementia compared with those without serious mental illness (SMI), according to a study published in the June issue of JAMA Psychiatry.

T. Scott Stroup, M.D., M.P.H., from the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, and colleagues estimated the age-specific incidence and prevalence of dementia diagnoses among older U.S. adults with schizophrenia (74,170 individuals) and a comparison group without SMI (7,937,603 individuals) in a retrospective cohort study.

The researchers found that at 66 years of age, the prevalence of diagnosed dementia was 27.9 and 1.3 percent among those with schizophrenia and the group without SMI, respectively; by 80 years, the prevalence was 70.2 and 11.3 percent, respectively. At 66 years of age, the annual incidence of dementia diagnoses was 52.5 and 4.5 per 1,000 person-years among individuals with schizophrenia and those without SMI, respectively; by 80 years of age, the incidence increased to 216.2 and 32.3, respectively.

“The implications of this high rate of comorbidity are substantial for families and for the service system, which must provide high levels of care for individuals with a combination of disabling conditions and uncertain treatment pathways,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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