The University of South Carolina School of Public Health, 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 Center for Geriatric Medicine, Education and Research. 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 1994, the registry maintained information on 7,467 individuals in South Carolina with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Sixty-two percent had a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and an additional 16% had a diagnosis of dementia due to stroke. The rest were due to alcohol or drug-induced dementia (9%), and dementia secondary to other medical conditions (14%). Highlights of the 1994 data include:
• Fifty-nine percent of the people in the registry residing in the community have a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.
• Those with Alzheimer's disease are most often diagnosed between the ages of 75 and 84.
• Thirty-eight percent of people with Alzheimer's disease are currently over 84 years of age.
• Seventy-seven percent of the people Alzheimer's disease who reside in the community are currently over 74 years of age.
• Eighty-one percent of the people 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 40% in each category).
• Forty-nine percent of people with Alzheimer's disease who reside in the community are African-American.
• Approximately half of the people with Alzheimer's disease have less than a high school education.
• Sixty-two percent of people with Alzheimer's disease are single, widowed, divorced, or separated (65% of those residing in institutions and 59% of those residing in the community).
• Summary information on the number of deaths between 1988 and 1994 indicates that about 40% of the dementia diagnoses are made within two years of death and about 25% of dementia not due to medical causes is 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 James F. Byrnes Center for Geriatric Medicine, Education, and Research, 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.