Comparing survival time by dementia type (AD, DLB, FTD, VaD, mixed)

These Australian researchers reviewed the literature on survival time with Alzheimer’s Disease, mixed dementia, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and dementia with Lew bodies.

After reading this abstract, I wondered if the Australian authors were native English speakers.  Lots of sentences are hard to understand!

Example:  “Relative loss of life expectancy decreases with age at diagnosis across varying gender….”

I think this means:  The older you are, the lower your relative loss of life expectancy is.  And this was truth whether you are male or female.

Here’s another weirdly worded sentence:  “We found that the impact overall of dying from dementia decreases with increasing age…”

For me, the two key takeaways were:
* there aren’t enough studies in dementia with Lewy bodies to have a good idea as to survival time
* survival time “cannot be predicted accurately”

I think that’s enough about this paper for all of us.  The abstract is copied below.



International Psychogeriatrics. 2012 Feb 13:1-12. [Epub ahead of print]

Dementia time to death: a systematic literature review on survival time and years of life lost in people with dementia.

Brodaty H, Seeher K, Gibson L.
Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Background: Life expectancy with dementia directly influences rates of prevalence and service needs and is a common question posed by families and patients. As well as years of survival, it is useful to consider years of life lost after a diagnosis of dementia.

Methods: We systematically reviewed the literature on mortality and survival with dementia which were compared to estimated life expectancies in the general population. Both were then compared by age (under 65 years vs. 65+ years), gender, dementia type, severity, and two epochs (prior to and after introduction of cholinesterase inhibitors in 1997).

Results: Survival after a diagnosis of dementia varies considerably and depends on numerous factors and their complex interaction. Relative loss of life expectancy decreases with age at diagnosis across varying gender, dementia subtypes (except for frontotemporal dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies), and severity stages. Numerous study deficiencies precluded a meta-analysis of survival in dementia.

Conclusion: Estimates of years of life lost through dementia may be helpful for patients and their families. Recommendations for future research methods are proposed.

PubMed ID#:  2232533  (see for this abstract only)