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      Epidemiology of neurodegenerative diseases in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review

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          Abstract

          Background

          Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries are experiencing rapid transitions with increased life expectancy. As a result the burden of age-related conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases might be increasing. We conducted a systematic review of published studies on common neurodegenerative diseases, and HIV-related neurocognitive impairment in SSA, in order to identify research gaps and inform prevention and control solutions.

          Methods

          We searched MEDLINE via PubMed, ‘ Banque de Données de Santé Publique’ and the database of the ‘ Institut d’Epidemiologie Neurologique et de Neurologie Tropicale’ from inception to February 2013 for published original studies from SSA on neurodegenerative diseases and HIV-related neurocognitive impairment. Screening and data extraction were conducted by two investigators. Bibliographies and citations of eligible studies were investigated.

          Results

          In all 144 publications reporting on dementia (n = 49 publications, mainly Alzheimer disease), Parkinsonism (PD, n = 20), HIV-related neurocognitive impairment (n = 47), Huntington disease (HD, n = 19), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, n = 15), cerebellar degeneration (n = 4) and Lewy body dementia (n = 1). Of these studies, largely based on prevalent cases from retrospective data on urban populations, half originated from Nigeria and South Africa. The prevalence of dementia (Alzheimer disease) varied between <1% and 10.1% (0.7% and 5.6%) in population-based studies and from <1% to 47.8% in hospital-based studies. Incidence of dementia (Alzheimer disease) ranged from 8.7 to 21.8/1000/year (9.5 to 11.1), and major risk factors were advanced age and female sex. HIV-related neurocognitive impairment’s prevalence (all from hospital-based studies) ranged from <1% to 80%. Population-based prevalence of PD and ALS varied from 10 to 235/100,000, and from 5 to 15/100,000 respectively while that for Huntington disease was 3.5/100,000. Equivalent figures for hospital based studies were the following: PD (0.41 to 7.2%), ALS (0.2 to 8.0/1000), and HD (0.2/100,000 to 46.0/100,000).

          Conclusions

          The body of literature on neurodegenerative disorders in SSA is large with regard to dementia and HIV-related neurocognitive disorders but limited for other neurodegenerative disorders. Shortcomings include few population-based studies, heterogeneous diagnostic criteria and uneven representation of countries on the continent. There are important knowledge gaps that need urgent action, in order to prepare the sub-continent for the anticipated local surge in neurodegenerative diseases.

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          Most cited references 141

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          Global prevalence of dementia: a Delphi consensus study.

          100 years after the first description, Alzheimer's disease is one of the most disabling and burdensome health conditions worldwide. We used the Delphi consensus method to determine dementia prevalence for each world region. 12 international experts were provided with a systematic review of published studies on dementia and were asked to provide prevalence estimates for every WHO world region, for men and women combined, in 5-year age bands from 60 to 84 years, and for those aged 85 years and older. UN population estimates and projections were used to estimate numbers of people with dementia in 2001, 2020, and 2040. We estimated incidence rates from prevalence, remission, and mortality. Evidence from well-planned, representative epidemiological surveys is scarce in many regions. We estimate that 24.3 million people have dementia today, with 4.6 million new cases of dementia every year (one new case every 7 seconds). The number of people affected will double every 20 years to 81.1 million by 2040. Most people with dementia live in developing countries (60% in 2001, rising to 71% by 2040). Rates of increase are not uniform; numbers in developed countries are forecast to increase by 100% between 2001 and 2040, but by more than 300% in India, China, and their south Asian and western Pacific neighbours. We believe that the detailed estimates in this paper constitute the best currently available basis for policymaking, planning, and allocation of health and welfare resources.
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            The International HIV Dementia Scale: a new rapid screening test for HIV dementia.

            HIV dementia is an important neurological complication of advanced HIV infection. The use of a cross-cultural screening test to detect HIV dementia within the international community is critical for diagnosing this condition. The objective of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of a new screening test for HIV dementia, the International HIV Dementia Scale (IHDS) in cohorts from the US and Uganda. Two cross-sectional cohort studies designed to evaluate for the presence of HIV dementia. Sixty-six HIV-positive individuals in the US and 81 HIV-positive individuals in Uganda received the IHDS and full standardized neurological and neuropsychological assessments. The sensitivity and specificity of varying cut-off scores of the IHDS were evaluated in the two cohorts. In the US cohort, the mean IHDS score for HIV-positive individuals without dementia and with dementia were 10.6 and 9.3 respectively (P < 0.001). Using the cut-off of < or = 10, the sensitivity and specificity for HIV dementia with the IHDS were 80% and 57% respectively in the US cohort, and 80% and 55% respectively in the Uganda cohort. The IHDS may be a useful screening test to identify individuals at risk for HIV dementia in both the industrialized world and the developing world. Full neuropsychological testing should then be performed to confirm a diagnosis of HIV dementia.
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              Prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in two communities: Nigerian Africans and African Americans.

              This article reports on a prevalence study of dementia and Alzheimer's disease among two groups of subjects with the same ethnic background but widely differing environments. The study was conducted among residents aged 65 years and older in two communities: Yorubas (N = 2,494) living in Ibadan, Nigeria, and African Americans (N = 2,212 in the community and N = 106 in nursing homes) living in Indianapolis, Indiana. The study design consisted of a screening stage followed by a clinical assessment stage for selected subjects on the basis of their performance on the screening tests. The age-adjusted prevalence rates of dementia (2.29%) and Alzheimer's disease (1.41%) in the Ibadan sample were significantly lower than those in the Indianapolis sample, both in the community-dwelling subjects alone (4.82% and 3.69%, respectively) and in the combined nursing home and community samples (8.24% and 6.24%, respectively). The prevalence rates of dementia and Alzheimer's disease increased consistently with advancing age in both study groups. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study, using the same research method at the two sites, to report significant differences in rates of dementia and Alzheimer's disease in two different communities with similar ethnic origins.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central
                1471-2458
                2014
                26 June 2014
                : 14
                : 653
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Neurosciences, Division of Neurology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, USA
                [2 ]Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
                [3 ]MedStar Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
                [4 ]Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
                [5 ]The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia
                [6 ]Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
                [7 ]Non-Communicable Diseases Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, PO Box 19070 Tygerberg, Cape Town 7505, South Africa
                1471-2458-14-653
                10.1186/1471-2458-14-653
                4094534
                24969686
                Copyright © 2014 Lekoubou et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                Research Article

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