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Dementia Prevalence in Greece: The Hellenic Longitudinal Investigation of Aging and Diet (HELIAD)

Kosmidis, Mary H., PhD*; Vlachos, George S., MD; Anastasiou, Costas A., MD; Yannakoulia, Mary, PhD; Dardiotis, Efthimios, MD§; Hadjigeorgiou, Georgios, MD§; Sakka, Paraskevi, MD; Ntanasi, Eva, MSc†,∥; Scarmeas, Nikolaos, MD†,¶

Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders: July-September 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 232–239
doi: 10.1097/WAD.0000000000000249
Original Articles

Introduction: Study of the epidemiology of dementia to gain insight into putative predisposing and prophylactic factors is the first step toward establishing effective preventive and therapeutic strategies for this ever-growing public health problem. Relevant data in Greece are scattered and outdated.

Methods: We investigated dementia prevalence as part of a population-representative epidemiological study [Hellenic Longitudinal Investigation of Aging and Diet (HELIAD)] in 2 Greek regions.

Results: Our sample comprised 1792 adults 65 years of age or older, who received a full neurological and neuropsychological evaluation that led to a consensus diagnosis. The overall prevalence of dementia was 5.0%, with 75.3% of the cases attributed to Alzheimer disease. Dementia odds were 15.8% higher for every year of advancing age and 9.4% lower for every additional year of education. Carrying at least 1 APOE-ε4 allele doubled the risk of dementia, whereas sex did not exert a statistically significant effect.

Conclusions: Our results are consistent with previous research in Southern European countries; dementia prevalence in Greece is in the lower range of what has been reported globally.

*Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki

Department of Social Medicine, Psychiatry and Neurology, 1st Department of Neurology, Aeginition University Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens

§School of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Larissa

Athens Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, Marousi, Greece

Department of Neurology, the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, Taub Institute for Research in Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University, New York, NY

M.H.K. and G.S.V. contributed equally to first authorship.

Supported by IIRG-09-133014 from the Alzheimer’s Association, 189 10276/8/9/2011 from the ESPA-EU program Excellence Grant (ARISTEIA) (which is cofunded by the European Social Fund and Greek National resources) and ΔΥ2β/οικ.51657/14.4.2009 from the Ministry for Health and Social Solidarity (Greece) (all awarded to N.S.), and funding from the Research Committee, University of Thessaly, Code 2845 (awarded to G.H.) and from the Research Committee, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Code 89272 (awarded to M.H.K.).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Mary H. Kosmidis, PhD, Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54124, Greece (e-mail:

Received April 11, 2017

Accepted January 23, 2018

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