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The University of South Carolina, in cooperation with the SC Health and Human Services Finance Commission and the SC Department of Mental Health, maintains a statewide registry of SC residents diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or a related disorder. The registry is located in the James F. Byrnes Medical Center. All cases are identified by a medical records search; inclusion in the registry is voluntary. The goals of the registry include:

• reporting annual prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders by demographic characteristics;

• providing data to public agencies for planning purposes; and

• fostering research into the risk factors for Alzheimer's disease and caregiver distress.

In 1993, the registry maintained information on 5, 772 individuals in South Carolina with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Almost 60% had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and an additional 15% had a diagnosis of dementia due to stroke. The rest were due to alcohol or drug-induced dementia (12%), and dementia secondary to other medical conditions (14%). Highlights of the 1993 data include:

• Over half of the registry cases living in the community have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

• Those with Alzheimer's disease are most often diagnosed between the ages of 65 and 84.

• Over 40% of registry cases with Alzheimer's disease are currently over 84 years of age.

• 77% of the community cases with Alzheimer's disease are currently over 7 4 years of age.

• 87% of the institutionalized cases with Alzheimer's disease are are currently over 74 years of age.

• More women than men are affected with Alzheimer's disease and multi-infarct dementia, most likely due to the larger proportion of women alive after age 65.

• African Americans, who comprise nearly 30% of the adult South Carolina population, are over-represented in all dementia categories (over 40%).

• Over 50% of Alzheimer's disease cases in the community are African American.

• Approximately half the dementia cases have less than a high school education.

• For Alzheimer's disease cases there is no 'difference in educational status between those in institutions and those in the community.

• 70% of Alzheimer's disease cases are single, widowed, divorced, or separated (77% of those in institutions and 62% of those in the community).

• About half the Alzheimer's disease and multi-infarct cases have a record of a mini-mental status examination and about 25% of all the dementia cases have had a CAT (computed axial tomography) scan.

• Summary information on the number of deaths between 1988 and 1993 indicates that 41% to 46% of the dementia diagnoses are made within two years of death and about 20% of the dementia diagnoses, not due to medical causes, are diagnosed more than 5 years before death.

• The onset of symptoms occurs more than 5 years before death for almost half the dementia cases.

The growth and development of the registry and the related research program in aging has been due to the support of many individuals and organizations. We particularly want to acknowledge the contribution of the School of Public Health for core support, the School of Medicine (Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics) for providing space and collaboration, the Department of Mental Health for continued support, access to data, and for providing space in the Byrnes Medical Center, the SC Health and Human Services Finance Commission for core support and access to data, and the Office of the Governor, Division on Aging for their continued support.

Any state or local agency may request the registry staff to provide specific data summaries (without identifiers). These requests are handled on an individual basis and will be provided free of charge, as time allows. Contact the registry staff at (803) 734-4098 for further information.