A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Prevalence of Dementia in Europe: Estimates from the Highest-Quality Studies Adopting the DSM IV Diagnostic Criteria

J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;66(4):1471-1481. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180416.


Background: Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), is one of the most burdensome medical conditions. Usually, the reviews that aim at calculating the prevalence of dementia include estimates from studies without assessing their methodological quality. Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) proposed a score to assess the methodological quality of population-based studies aimed at estimating the prevalence of dementia. During the last three years, the European Commission has funded three projects (Eurodem, EuroCoDe, and ALCOVE) in order to estimate the prevalence of dementia in Europe.

Objective: The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of data on the prevalence of dementia in Europe derived from studies that included only subjects with a diagnosis of dementia according to the DSM IV criteria, and that had a high quality score according to ADI criteria.

Methods: We considered the studies selected by the two projects EuroCoDe (1993-2007) and Alcove (2008-2011), and we performed a new bibliographic search. For the systematic review, we only selected the subset of articles that included subjects with a diagnosis of dementia according to the DSM IV criteria. The studies were qualitatively assessed using the ADI tool.

Results: The meta-analysis considered 9 studies that were carried out in Europe between 1993 and 2018 including a total of 18,263 participants, of which 2,137 were diagnosed with dementia. The prevalence rate standardized for age and sex resulted 7.1%.

Discussion: This is the first systematic review on the prevalence of dementia in Europe considering only high-quality studies adopting the same diagnostic criteria (i.e., DSM IV).

Keywords: Dementia epidemiology; prevalence studies; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sensitivity and Specificity