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Vol. 31, No. 4, 2011
Issue release date: May 2011
Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2011;31:309–316

Prevalence and Pathology of Dementia with Lewy Bodies in the Oldest Old: A Comparison with Other Dementing Disorders

Jellinger K.A. · Attems J.
aInstitute of Clinical Neurobiology, Vienna, Austria; bInstitute for Ageing and Health, Wolfson Research Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

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Background: While the prevalence of Alzheimer disease (AD) increases with age, little is known about the frequency of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) in the oldest old. A retrospective hospital-based study compared the relative prevalence of DLB among very old individuals. Methods: 1,100 consecutive autopsy cases of demented patients aged over 70 years (mean age: 83.9 ± 5.4 years) were examined using standardized neuropathological methods and current diagnostic consensus criteria. Results: Evaluation of three age groups (8th–10th decade) showed a significant increase in the relative prevalence of AD with cerebrovascular lesions including mixed dementia, while AD with Lewy body (LB) pathology showed a mild but insignificant age-related increase. Both ‘pure’ AD and vascular dementia showed a mild but insignificant decline, while DLB (without severe AD pathology) decreased progressively. While the severity of Lewy pathology in DLB slightly decreased with age, concomitant Alzheimer-like pathology increased progressively. Conclusion: Whether DLB in the oldest old represents a distinct group is a matter of discussion, but the relative prevalence of AD with LB in our sample remained fairly stable.

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