Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

4 in 10 Over Age 85 Have Cognitive Impairment

Prevalence of Dementia Increases Dramatically After Age 90, Study Finds
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

May 9, 2011 -- More than four in 10 women over age 85 have some type of cognitive impairment, according to a new study.

The results show nearly 18% of women over 85 have dementia and 23% more have mild cognitive impairment, and the prevalence of dementia doubles after age 90 compared to women who are 85 to 89 years old.

“People 85 years or older are often referred to as the oldest old,” researcher Kristine Yaffe, MD, of the University of California at San Francisco, and colleagues write in the Archives of Neurology. “This group is the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population and is expected to increase in number by 40% during the next decade alone.”

Researchers say the findings highlight the need to screen for cognitive impairment in older people, especially high-risk groups, such as people with a history of stroke or depression.

Dementia in the Oldest Old

In the study, researchers screened 1,299 women aged 85 or older for cognitive impairment. The results show that 41% of the women had dementia or mild cognitive impairment and the risk increased dramatically with age.

But the distribution of different types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and others, was similar across all age groups, with Alzheimer’s disease and mixed dementia each accounting for about 40% of dementia cases.

Compared with women with normal cognitive function, women with dementia or cognitive impairment were more likely to be older, live in a nursing home, have a history of depression or stroke, and were less likely to have completed high school.

Researchers say that by 1994 the oldest old already represented nearly 40% of people with dementia, despite accounting for just over 1% of the population.

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing