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      Chronic disease prevalence and care among the elderly in urban and rural Beijing, China - a 10/66 Dementia Research Group cross-sectional survey

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          Demographic ageing is occurring at an unprecedented rate in China. Chronic diseases and their disabling consequences will become much more common. Public policy has a strong urban bias, and older people living in rural areas may be especially vulnerable due to limited access to good quality healthcare, and low pension coverage. We aim to compare the sociodemographic and health characteristics, health service utilization, needs for care and informal care arrangements of representative samples of older people in two Beijing communities, urban Xicheng and rural Daxing.


          A one-phase cross-sectional survey of all those aged 65 years and over was conducted in urban and rural catchment areas in Beijing, China. Assessments included questionnaires, a clinical interview, physical examination, and an informant interview. Prevalence of chronic diseases, self-reported impairments and risk behaviours was calculated adjusting for household clustering. Poisson working models were used to estimate the independent effect of rural versus urban residence, and to explore the predictors of health services utilization.


          We interviewed 1002 participants in rural Daxing, and 1160 in urban Xicheng. Those in Daxing were more likely to be younger, widowed, less educated, not receiving a pension, and reliant on family transfers. Chronic diseases were more common in Xicheng, when based on self-report rather than clinical assessment. Risk exposures were more common in Daxing. Rural older people were much less likely to access health services, controlling for age and health. Community health services were ineffective, particularly in Daxing, where fewer than 3% of those with hypertension were adequately controlled. In Daxing, care was provided by family, who had often given up work to do so. In Xicheng, 45% of those needing care were supported by paid caregivers. Caregiver strain was higher in Xicheng. Dementia was strongly associated with care needs and caregiver strain, but not with medical helpseeking.


          Apparent better health in Daxing might be explained by under-diagnosis, under-reporting or selective mortality. Far-reaching structural reforms may be needed to improve access and strengthen rural healthcare. The impact of social and economic change is already apparent in Xicheng, with important implications for future long-term care.

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          Most cited references 49

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          15-year longitudinal study of blood pressure and dementia.

          Vascular causes of dementia may be more common than supposed. Vascular factors may also have a role in late-onset Alzheimer's disease, but the role of hypertension in the development of dementia is unclear. As part of the Longitudinal Population Study of 70-year-olds in Göteborg, Sweden, we analysed the relation between blood pressure and the development of dementia in the age intervals 70-75, 75-79, and 79-85 years in those non-demented at age 70 (n = 382). The sample was followed up for 15 years and examined repeatedly with a comprehensive investigation, including a psychiatric and physical examination. a Participants who developed dementia at age 79-85 had higher systolic blood pressure at age 70 (mean 178 vs 164 mm Hg, p = 0.034) and higher diastolic blood pressure at ages 70 (101 vs 92, p = 0.004) and 75 (97 vs 90, p = 0.022) than those who did not develop dementia. For subtypes of dementia, higher diastolic blood pressure was recorded at age 70 (101, p = 0.019) for those developing Alzheimer's disease and at age 75 (101, p = 0.015) for those developing vascular dementia than for those who did not develop dementia. Participants with white-matter lesions on computed tomography at age 85 had higher blood pressure at age 70 than those without such lesions. Blood pressure declined in the years before dementia onset and was then similar to or lower than that in non-demented individuals. Previously increased blood pressure may increase the risk for dementia by inducing small-vessel disease and white-matter lesions. To what extent the decline in blood pressure before dementia onset is a consequence or a cause of the brain disease remains to be elucidated.
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            Dementia diagnosis in developing countries: a cross-cultural validation study.

            Research into dementia is needed in developing countries. Assessment of variations in disease frequency between regions might enhance our understanding of the disease, but methodological difficulties need to be addressed. We aimed to develop and test a culturally and educationally unbiased diagnostic instrument for dementia. In a multicentre study, the 10/66 Dementia Research Group interviewed 2885 people aged 60 years and older in 25 centres, most in Universities, in India, China and southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa. 729 had dementia and three groups were free of dementia: 702 had depression, 694 had high education (as defined by each centre), and 760 had low education (as defined by each centre). Local clinicians diagnosed dementia and depression. An interviewer, masked to dementia diagnosis, administered the geriatric mental state, the community screening instrument for dementia, and the modified Consortium to Establish a Registry of Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD) ten-word list-learning task. Each measure independently predicted a diagnosis of dementia. In an analysis of half the sample, an algorithm derived from all three measures gave better results than any individual measure. Applied to the other half of the sample, this algorithm identified 94% of dementia cases with false-positive rates of 15%, 3%, and 6% in the depression, high education, and low education groups, respectively. Our algorithm is a sound basis for culturally and educationally sensitive dementia diagnosis in clinical and population-based research, supported by translations of its constituent measures into most languages used in the developing world.
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              Practice guidelines of the European Society of Hypertension for clinic, ambulatory and self blood pressure measurement.


                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central
                21 October 2009
                : 9
                : 394
                [1 ]Institute of Mental Health, Peking University, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Ministry of Health (Peking University), No 51 Hua Yuan Bei Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100191, PR China
                [2 ]King's College London, Section of Epidemiology, Health Services & Population Research, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK
                Copyright © 2009 Liu et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Public health


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