Early-onset dementia is associated with higher mortality

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2008;26(2):147-52. doi: 10.1159/000149585. Epub 2008 Aug 4.


Background/aims: Our objective was to compare the mortality risks of patients with early- and late-onset dementia with non-demented controls of the same age range and to analyse the mortality risks in subtypes of dementia.

Methods: We included 1,203 subjects from our memory clinic. Patients with dementia were subdivided into 2 groups, with early- (<65 years) or late-onset dementia (>or=65 years), and compared with non-demented controls of the same age range. We used Cox proportional hazard models to estimate mortality risks.

Results: When compared to non-demented controls of the same age range, the patients with early-onset dementia had a strongly elevated mortality risk [hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) = 43.3 (3.1-600.4)], while those with late-onset dementia had a moderately increased mortality risk compared to older controls [hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) = 3.4 (1.8-6.2)]. An additional analysis showed that, adjusted for age, Alzheimer's disease seemed to have the most benign course, with a fourfold increased mortality risk. Dementia with Lewy bodies and vascular dementia (frequently seen at older age) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration and 'other dementias' (often found at younger age) had a six- to eightfold increased mortality risk.

Conclusion: Dementia is a risk factor for death. Especially in young patients the impact of dementia on mortality is high.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / mortality*
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dementia, Vascular / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lewy Body Disease / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors