Ageing and dementia are inextricably linked, with risk of dementia skyrocketing after 65 years of age. However not all people develop dementia and some who do are able to postpone its development until extremely late in life. Estimates for dementia prevalence in the “oldest-old” age group, variously described as comprising nonagenarians, centenarians and super centenarians, vary widely and consistent risk and protective factors for dementia at the extreme end of life have yet to be identified.
The International Centenarian Consortium of Dementia (ICC-Dementia) is interested in studying those at the extreme end of life. ICC-Dementia was formulated in 2012 and is comprised of eighteen different centenarian and near-centenarian studies in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania. ICC-Dementia seeks to harmonise these studies internationally to describe the cognitive and functional profiles of exceptionally old individuals. The bringing together of such diverse ethnoracial and sociocultural studies allows us to systematically explore the factors involved in dementia and longevity, as well as providing real-life models of healthy brain ageing. We hope that this will provide insights into the underlying mechanisms of dementia and point to possible ways of escaping or delaying the onset of common dementias until extremely late in life.
1. To enable various centenarian studies of brain ageing to be compared with each other.
2. An attempt will also be made to validate the diagnosis of dementia by examining rate of cognitive decline in those cohorts in which longitudinal data are available. Further validation will be carried out using neuroimaging and neuropathology.
3. The risk and protective factors for dementia at the extreme end of life will be examined, and cross-national comparisons made.
Our hope is to find factors that predict successful brain ageing into the 11th decade of life that are robust across cohorts. This will spearhead an international effort to promote successful brain ageing.