A new GLO Discussion Paper examines the relationship between incident cognitive impairment and receipt of diagnosis among American older adults. It calls for targeted interventions to improve the rate of early diagnosis, especially among vulnerable populations.
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GLO Discussion Paper No. 777, 2021
Cognitive Impairment and Prevalence of Memory-Related Diagnoses among U.S. Older Adults – Download PDF
by Qian, Yuting & Chen, Xi & Tang, Diwen & Kelley, Amy S. & Li, Jing
GLO Fellow Xi Chen
Author Abstract: Cognitive impairment creates significant challenges to health and well-being of the fast-growing aging population. Early recognition of cognitive impairment may confer important advantages, allowing for diagnosis and appropriate treatment, education, psychosocial support, and improved decision-making regarding life planning, health care, and financial matters. Yet the prevalence of memory-related diagnoses among older adults with early symptoms of cognitive impairment is unknown. Using 2000-2014 Health and Retirement Survey – Medicare linked data, we leveraged within-individual variation in a longitudinal cohort design to examine the relationship between incident cognitive impairment and receipt of diagnosis among American older adults. Receipt of a memory-related diagnosis was determined by ICD-9-CM codes. Incident cognitive impairment was assessed using the modified Telephone Interview of Cognitive Status (TICS). We found overall low prevalence of early memory-related diagnosis, or high rate of underdiagnosis, among older adults showing symptoms of cognitive impairment, especially among non-whites and socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroups. Our findings call for targeted interventions to improve the rate of early diagnosis, especially among vulnerable populations.
GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS, EconPapers). Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.