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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 908915, 8 pages
Review Article

Global Epidemiology of Dementia: Alzheimer’s and Vascular Types

1Division of Geriatric Neurology, Service of Neurology, “Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre” (HCPA), Ramiro Barcelos Street 2.350, 90035-903 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
2Department of Internal Medicine, “Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul” (UFRGS), Ramiro Barcelos Street 2.350, 90035-903 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
3Division of Gerontological Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), São Manoel Street 963, 90620-110 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Received 9 February 2014; Revised 3 April 2014; Accepted 10 June 2014; Published 25 June 2014

Academic Editor: Lap Ho

Copyright © 2014 Liara Rizzi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The prevalence of dementia varies substantially worldwide. This is partially attributed to the lack of methodological uniformity among studies, including diagnostic criteria and different mean population ages. However, even after considering these potential sources of bias, differences in age-adjusted dementia prevalence still exist among regions of the world. In Latin America, the prevalence of dementia is higher than expected for its level of population aging. This phenomenon occurs due to the combination of low average educational attainment and high vascular risk profile. Among developed countries, Japan seems to have the lowest prevalence of dementia. Studies that evaluated the immigration effect of the Japanese and blacks to USA evidenced that acculturation increases the relative proportion of AD cases compared to VaD. In the Middle East and Africa, the number of dementia cases will be expressive by 2040. In general, low educational background and other socioeconomic factors have been associated with high risk of obesity, sedentarism, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and metabolic syndrome, all of which also raise the risk of VaD and AD. Regulating these factors is critical to generate the commitment to make dementia a public health priority.