Ethnicity Affecta Alzheimer's Survival Rates

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Ethnicity and presence of certain health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, appear to affect length of survival for people with Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the November issue of Neurology, Reuters Health reports.

For the study, lead researcher Yaakov Stern of Columbia University Medical Center and colleagues identified 323 cases of Alzheimer's disease from a group of about 4,300 Medicare beneficiaries and followed the patients for an average of four years to a maximum of 13 years.


Of the participants, more than half were Hispanic, one-third were black and about 10% were white. Researchers found that the overall average lifespan was 92 years and age of diagnosis was 83. While those figures did not differ by racial or ethnic group, the average length of survival after diagnosis of Alzheimer's for Hispanics was eight years, compared with five years for blacks and four years for whites.

Participants who had a history of diabetes and high blood pressure also had shortened survival times. Further analysis found that the mortality risk was increased by 2.6-fold among those with high blood pressure and by twofold among those who had diabetes, Reuters Health reports. Participants who were diagnosed at older ages also had a shortened survival time (Reuters Health, 11/5).

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