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Editorial
December 20, 2006

Behavior-Based Interventions to Enhance Cognitive Functioning and Independence in Older Adults

Author Affiliations
 

Author Affiliations: Departments of Social Sciences and Health Policy (Drs Shumaker and Coker) and Biostatistical Sciences (Dr Legault), Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC.

JAMA. 2006;296(23):2852-2854. doi:10.1001/jama.296.23.2852

The current and projected financial and emotional burden of cognitive impairment to individuals and their families, as well as the financial burden to society, are staggering.1,2 There are 24 million individuals with dementia in the world, and 4.6 million new cases are diagnosed annually.1 The combined worldwide prevalence of age-associated cognitive impairment and cognitive disorders is predicted to reach 84 million individuals affected by 2040.1 In 2000, more than 4 million US adults had Alzheimer disease; by 2050, this will increase to 13 million.3 Furthermore, declines in specific cognitive domains (eg, memory, executive functions) are predictive of deficits in the performance of instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) in older adults,4 an outcome that seriously threatens the ability of the aging population to live independently.

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