Determinants for undetected dementia and late-life depression

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Determinants for undetected dementia and late-life depression have been not well studied.


To investigate risk factors for undetected dementia and depression in older communities.


Using the method of the 10/66 algorithm, we interviewed a random sample of 7072 participants aged ≥60 years in six provinces of China during 2007–2011. We documented doctor-diagnosed dementia and depression in the interview. Using the validated 10/66 algorithm we diagnosed dementia (n = 359) and depression (n = 328).


We found that 93.1% of dementia and 92.5% of depression was undetected. Both undetected dementia and depression were significantly associated with low levels of education and occupation, and living in a rural area. The risk of undetected dementia was also associated with ‘help available when needed’, and inversely, with a family history of mental illness and having functional impairment. Undetected depression was significantly related to female gender, low income, having more children and inversely with having heart disease.


Older adults in China have high levels of undetected dementia and depression. General socioeconomic improvement, associated with mental health education, targeting high-risk populations are likely to increase detection of dementia and depression in older adults, providing a backdrop for culturally acceptable service development.

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