Study finds high economic burden of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias among indigenous populations

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Adrienne Johnson, MD

Indigenous people living in Wisconsin and throughout the nation experience significant health and financial burden from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, according to a new study led by Adrienne Johnson, PhD, assistant professor, General Internal Medicine (right)

Researchers used 2015-2022 Wisconsin cost data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to calculate national costs. Using the national population estimate of American Indian/Alaska Native adults ages 65 or older and prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in this population, researchers estimated that dementia diagnoses among Indigenous people costs about $880 million to $1.9 billion annually in additional health care-related costs across the U.S. When diagnoses of malnutrition or adult failure to thrive were included in the analysis, researchers estimated annual costs of an additional roughly $1.2 billion to $2.5 billion.

“Taken together, this work exemplifies the potential benefits of offering programs to prevent, accurately diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s and related dementias among Indigenous adults,” says Dr. Johnson.

Read the full story from UW SMPH.