The prevalence and incidence of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Kirsten M. Fiest, Jodie I. Roberts, Colleen J. Maxwell, David B. Hogan, Eric E. Smith, Alexandra Frolkis, Adrienne Cohen, Andrew Kirk, Dawn Pearson, Tamara Pringsheim, Andres Venegas-Torres, Nathalie Jetté

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175 Scopus citations


Background: Updated information on the epidemiology of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease (AD) is needed to ensure that adequate resources are available to meet current and future healthcare needs. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the incidence and prevalence of AD. Methods: The MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched from 1985 to 2012, as well as the reference lists of selected articles. Included articles had to provide an original population-based estimate for the incidence and/or prevalence of AD. Two individuals independently performed abstract and full-text reviews, data extraction and quality assessments. Random-effects models were employed to generate pooled estimates stratified by age, sex, diagnostic criteria, location (i.e., continent) and time (i.e., when the study was done). Results: Of 16,066 abstracts screened, 707 articles were selected for full-text review. A total of 119 studies met the inclusion criteria. In community settings, the overall point prevalence of dementia due to AD among individuals 60+ was 40.2 per 1000 persons (CI95%: 29.1-55.6), and pooled annual period prevalence was 30.4 per 1000 persons (CI95%: 15.6-59.1). In community settings, the overall pooled annual incidence proportion of dementia due to AD among individuals 60+ was 34.1 per 1000 persons (CI95%: 16.4-70.9), and the incidence rate was 15.8 per 1000 person-years (CI95%: 12.9-19.4). Estimates varied significantly with age, diagnostic criteria used and location (i.e., continent). Conclusions: The burden of AD dementia is substantial. Significant gaps in our understanding of its epidemiology were identified, even in a high-income country such as Canada. Future studies should assess the impact of using such newer clinical diagnostic criteria for AD dementia such as those of the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer's Association and/or incorporate validated biomarkers to confirm the presence of Alzheimer pathology to produce more precise estimates of the global burden of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S51-S82
JournalCanadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's
  • Dementia
  • Meta-analysis
  • Systematic review


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