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Dementia and Successful Cognitive Ageing in Centenarians: An International Consortium

Dr Melissa Slavin, Prof Henry Brodaty, Prof Perminder Sachdev
Research Centre DCRC Assessment and Better Care
Partner Institution centre-based
Project Description

Centenarians are the fastest growing age group throughout the world; yet we have relatively little knowledge of this special group. As their numbers swell, we require an understanding of their needs and their prognoses to enable planning.

The greatest burden the very old face is dementia and associated loss of independence. On the positive side, centenarians who remain cognitively alert and functionally independent offer a model of successful ageing that warrants further investigation.

There is little agreement on how to diagnose dementia in this group as there is limited comprehension of what is normal for a 100+ year old and methodological differences compromise comparability. For example, the traditional approach of testing cognition and function does not factor in sensory and physical impairments which are highly prevalent in this cohort; there is a lack of benchmark data; existing centenarian studies internationally that report dementia prevalence rates use different diagnostic criteria and lack transparency in how criteria are operationalised.

There is only one study reporting dementia incidence rates in this age group. We will combine data from 5 centenarian studies from 4 countries to robustly investigate what are the prevalences of dementia/ cognitive health and functional dependence/ independence and the incidence of dementia over time.

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