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May 2004

Year 2000 Prevalence of Alzheimer Disease in the United States

Arch Neurol. 2004;61(5):802-803. doi:10.1001/archneur.61.5.802-b

A recent ARCHIVES article estimated the prevalence of Alzheimer disease (AD) in the United States in 2000 at 4.5 million.1 However, a careful analysis of the data2 and literature finds this estimate to be biased high. First, education level was used to extrapolate the data to the entire US population, but racial differences in AD incidence between black and white Americans have a much stronger correlation.3 Black Americans have AD incidence rates double those of white Americans.2,3 Although black Americans comprised 37% of the population of this Chicago-area study, they make up only 8% to 9% of the similarly aged US population. Using race reduces the estimate to 3.9 million (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.1-4.7 million).2