Epidemiological Aspects of Organic Brain Disease in the Aged

  • D. W. K. Kay
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 3)


The epidemiology of the organic brain syndromes that occur in old age merits our attention today for two main reasons. In the first place, many more people are surviving into old age, and secondly, old people are particularly prone to mental disorder. Of all mental and physical handicaps that afflict the aged, the chronic brain syndromes are among the most disabling and make the heaviest demands on the resources of the state and the family. In Britain, since the beginning of the century, the absolute number of those aged 65 and over has increased four-fold, and those aged over 85 have increased seven-fold. Similar changes have occurred elsewhere, and population projections show that the very old will for a time continue to increase at a faster rate than other age groups. The fall in the birth rate, which has increased the proportion of the old to the young in many countries, is now reaching its full effect in some places, but the fall in mortality among the young will continue, and spread, and cause a permanent aging of populations. If and when the killing diseases of middle and later life are brought under control, there will be a further increase of the old and very old. Social changes such as the migration of the young in search of work, or indeed any social movements that tend to detach the younger from the older generations, will accentuate the isolation of the aged and throw the responsibility for their care more and more onto the state and other agencies.


Mental Hospital Senile Dementia Remote Memory Epidemiological Aspect Mild Dementia 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. W. K. Kay
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Royal Victoria InfirmaryNewcastle upon TyneEngland
  2. 2.University of Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon TyneEngland

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