9 million in China have dementia


Around 9.2 million people in China had dementia in 2010, compared with almost 3.7 million 20 years earlier, according to a study Friday that throws a spotlight on an emerging health crisis.

In what its authors say is the most detailed study into age-related mental health in China, the paper says prevalence of dementia there is rising far faster than thought and the country is ill-equipped to deal with the problem.

Reporting in the journal The Lancet, a team trawled through 89 academic studies published in English and Chinese between 1990 and 2010. Their aim was to go beyond previous probes where data was sketchy, and derive estimates on the basis of internationally recognized diagnoses.

They calculate that in 2010 there were almost 9.2 million people with dementia in China, of whom 5.7 million had Alzheimer’s. This compares with 3.6 million cases of dementia in 1990, of whom 1.9 million had Alzheimer’s.

One of the lead authors, Igor Rudan of the University of Edinburgh Medical School, said the dementia rise was partly due to a demographic bulge as more Chinese live to old age.

  • That’s surprising. The ‘most detailed study’ in history on Chinese dimentia found more cases than 20 years ago. Maybe its evidence that the education system is improving rather than health deteriorating. Did any differentiation feature in their correlation? Any province-based distinctions. By education, I didn’t mean respect for scientific method.

  • Charlie Sommers

    Perhaps the only difference is that dementia is being reported better now than it was 20 years ago. Statistics can often lead to incorrect conclusions. I am reminded of a study made years ago that concluded sex was good for your health and cited the fact that those who indulged in that activity with the most frequency were the healthiest. It turned out that the reverse was probably true. Healthy people just engaged in sex more often.