The Prevention Center, University of South Carolina (USC) School of Public Health, in cooperation with the South Carolina (SC) Department of Health and Human Services, the SC Department of Mental Health, and the USC School of Medicine, 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 Center for Geriatric Medicine, Education and Research. All cases are identified from a computerized 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.
Current estimates for 1995 suggest that over 30,000 individuals among those aged 65 and older in South Carolina have some form of dementia. Approximately 65 percent have Alzheimer's disease (about 20,000 individuals). These numbers will almost double in ten years and more than triple in 25 years with about 1 02,440 individuals aged 65 and over with dementia and about 66,586 with Alzheimer's disease.
During the calendar year 1995, the registry maintained information on 6,045 individuals with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Sixty-two percent had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and an additional14 percent had a diagnosis of dementia due to stroke. Others were diagnosed with alcohol or druginduced dementia (nine percent), and dementia secondary to other medical conditions (15 percent). Highlights of the 1995 prevalence data include:
• 43% of those with Alzheimer's disease were first diagnosed between the ages of 75 and 84
• 22% of those with Alzheimer's disease were first diagnosed at age 85 years or older.
• 37% of those with Alzheimer's disease are currently over 84 years of age.
• Almost 60% of those with Alzheimer's disease reside in the community.
• 75% of those with Alzheimer's disease who reside in the community are currently over 74 years of age.
• 82% of those with Alzheimer's disease living in institutions are currently over 74 years of age.
• More women than men are affected with Alzheimer's disease and multi-infarct dementia, possibly 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 45 percent in each category).
• 53% of those with Alzheimer's disease who reside in the community are African American.
• 36% of those with Alzheimer's disease who reside in institutions are African American.
• At least half of those with Alzheimer's disease have less than a high school education.
• 64% of those with Alzheimer's disease are widowed, divorced, or separated (66% of those residing in institutions and 63% of those residing in the community).
• For 46% of those with Alzheimer's disease, death occurred within 2 years of diagnosis.
• For 37% of those with Alzheimer's disease, death occurred more than 5 years after the onset of symptoms.
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 Prevention Center, USC School of Public Health for core support; the USC School of Medicine (Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics) for providing space and collaboration; the SC Department of Mental Health for continued support, access to data, and for providing space in the James F. Byrnes Center for Geriatric Medicine, Education, and Research; the SC Department of Health and Human Services for core support and access to data; the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, Vital Records and Public Health Statistics for 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) 777- 4253 for further information.