Prevalence of Dementia among the Elderly

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Part A: Research development

Definition of dementia

Dementia is a term that is used to describe the decline in mental ability that interferes with daily life. Dementia is more prevalent to the elderly than in children and youth (Harvey et al., 2003). A good example of dementia is memory loss. It is worth noting that dementia is not a specific medical condition but rather an overall term that defines a wide range of symptoms that are associated with cognitive impairment and decline in memory and other thinking skills (White et al., 2005).

Vascular contributors of Dementia

Vascular dementia occurs after a stroke (Whitehouse et al., 1982). It is the second most prevalent among patients after the Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, there are many other medical conditions that cause symptoms of dementia such as vitamin deficiencies and thyroid problems (Wimo et al., 2013).

Symptoms of dementia

While signs and symptoms of this disease vary greatly, two of the following mental functions are significantly impaired to be termed as dementia. The mental functions include communication and language, memory, ability to pay attention and focus, visual perception, reasoning and judgment (Law & Quirion, 2001). It has been found that people with dementia have short-memory, cannot keep track of wallet or purse, have problems in paying bills, remembering appointment, planning and preparing meals or traveling out of the neighborhood (Plassman et al., 2007).

Part B: Research Proposal

Prevalence of dementia among the elderly

Introduction

Dementia is a medical condition that is manifested in the form of a decline in mental ability including memory loss and other cognitive impairments (Plassman et al., 2007). It is common among the elderly. That is, the disease is more prevalent among the aged than in children and youth. Patients suffering from this condition usually have problems such short-term memory, inability to plan for their daily chores, remembering of events and even in communication and reasoning. It has been found that many dementias are progressive (Regier et al., 1993). That is, the symptoms start out at mild levels and then gradually become worse over time. However, if one is experiencing changes in thinking skills or memory difficulties, he or she should see a physician for professional evaluation of the condition (Evans, 1990).

Statement of the problem

According to Brookmeyer and Kawas (1998), there are various causes of dementia including stroke, cerebral capillary abnormalities, capillary morphology, depression, medication side effects, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems and excessive use of alcohol. However, the prevalence of these causes has not been well investigated. This work aims at highlighting the prevalence of the causes of dementia in the United States.

General objective

To determine the prevalence of the causes of dementia in the United States

Specific Objective

To determine the prevalence of the causes of dementia using statistical approach

Methodology

This work will employ a quantitative research design. That is, upon the collection of data, a statistical analysis will be employed to determine the prevalence of the causes of dementia. The study will rely on secondary data collection method where data from 100 articles related to causes of dementia will be obtained (Hebert et al., 2013). The articles will be obtained from the Journal of Neurology, Journal of the Neurological Sciences, Neurochemical Research, Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, Neurobiology of Aging and Ageing Research Reviews. The various causes dementia will be evaluated in terms of their mean, variance, standard deviation, and p-value in the United States (Hurd et al., 2013).