Prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in two communities: Nigerian Africans and African Americans

Am J Psychiatry. 1995 Oct;152(10):1485-92. doi: 10.1176/ajp.152.10.1485.


Objective: This article reports on a prevalence study of dementia and Alzheimer's disease among two groups of subjects with the same ethnic background but widely differing environments.

Method: The study was conducted among residents aged 65 years and older in two communities: Yorubas (N = 2,494) living in Ibadan, Nigeria, and African Americans (N = 2,212 in the community and N = 106 in nursing homes) living in Indianapolis, Indiana. The study design consisted of a screening stage followed by a clinical assessment stage for selected subjects on the basis of their performance on the screening tests.

Results: The age-adjusted prevalence rates of dementia (2.29%) and Alzheimer's disease (1.41%) in the Ibadan sample were significantly lower than those in the Indianapolis sample, both in the community-dwelling subjects alone (4.82% and 3.69%, respectively) and in the combined nursing home and community samples (8.24% and 6.24%, respectively). The prevalence rates of dementia and Alzheimer's disease increased consistently with advancing age in both study groups.

Conclusions: To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study, using the same research method at the two sites, to report significant differences in rates of dementia and Alzheimer's disease in two different communities with similar ethnic origins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indiana / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Nursing Homes
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales