Epidemiology of Dementia

  • Richard M. Torack
Part of the Monographien aus dem Gesamtgebiete der Psychiatrie book series (PSYCHIATRIE, volume 20)


The validity of dementia epidemiology as an etiologic determinant can be questioned on the basis of statistical accuracy and because the topic is redundant. The subjectivity of mental disorder is so great that most objective criteria of mensuration are not effective as a source of meaningful data. We have noted this failure in psychometrics, EEG, and pathologic studies. The usefulness of statistics to amplify causal relationships of insanity was briskly treated by Bell in 1844:

No reason has presented itself to justify receding from the views presented for several years past, of the unsoundness and consequent uselessness of what are called the statistics of insanity. Every year’s experience convinces me that those facts regarding this subject, which are capable of being arithmetically noted, are of too little moment to be worth recording at all, while those circumstances touching the duration, form, symptoms and event of cases, which would be truly important are, from their nature, incapable of being generalized tabularly into even a loose approximation to the truth. Statistics are doubtless valuable in relation to topics where accuracy is capable of being approached, but not in a legitimate mode of expressing mere opinions.

I still find it impracticable in a vast proportion of cases, to fix with any certainty the point at which the mind lost its balance, and by which the duration of disease before admission can be determined, notwithstanding the great body of our inmates are from the intelligent and educated classes of society, where facts of this sort are attainable, if at all. I still find insanity rarely produced from a single cause, so marked as to permit beingtabularized accurately, but by a combination or accidental coincidence of causes, moral, physical and educational.


Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Presenile Dementia Great Individual Variation Louis County 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Torack
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Medicine, Department of PathologyWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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