Objective To determine the availability and the consistency of prevalence findings of epidemiological studies on cognitive impairment and dementia conducted in Eastern and Middle Europe.
Methods We adopted a stepwise multimethod study approach consisting of iterative literature searches for epidemiological articles published between 1990 and 2006 and subsequent data analyses of published material, reanalyses of existing accessible epidemiological data sets and expert inquiries in Eastern and Middle European countries. Systematic computer-assisted searches used the keywords: "dementia", "Alzheimer", "cognitive impairment", "incidence", "prevalence", "epidemiology" in combination with the name of the relevant countries or "Europe" in English and Polish language. We supplemented the literature search with a review of the references in the articles that were identified during the initial search.
Results We were able to find few regional and country-specific epidemiological studies of various kinds (population-based, cohort, cross-sectional studies) and conducted on different restricted population groups of patients (from neurological units, out-patients units, residential homes). No studies were identified from most of the countries taken under consideration and the ones we found were characterized by an immense diversity with a considerable degree of clinical and methodological variations. The few studies that there are suggest prevalence rates of dementia in Eastern Europe similar to those in Western Europe.
Conclusions There is strong need for epidemiological studies in Eastern and Middle Europe, as well as for greater coordination and standardization of methods to improve the quality and comparability of epidemiological data to determine the prevalences' rates of dementia in all the EU countries.
2011. Vol. 26, no 2, 111-117 p.