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Dementia life expectancy revealed

A new study shows people with dementia survive an average of four-and-a-half years after being diagnosed with the condition.

The research, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), hopes to help nurses, carers and patients plan for the future.

The scientists, from Cambridge University, looked at more than 13,000 people aged 65 and above, and assessed them for dementia over a 14-year period between 1991 and 2005.

They found 438 patients developed dementia in that time, of which 356 (81%) died.

Age, sex, and disability before the onset of the disease all influenced how long people survived, the experts added.

The authors said: "Average survival time from dementia onset to death was 4.1 years for men and 4.6 years for women.

"There was around a three-year reduction in survival between the most and least disabled at onset, suggesting that the frailer individuals are at higher risk, even after age is taken into account.

"However, living in the community or residential home, marital status, and self-reported health were not associated with survival once other factors were taken into account.

"Those with higher education had slightly shorter survival than those with lower education, but this did not reach statistical significance. Social class also showed no pattern."


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