• epidemiology;
  • senile dementia;
  • multi-infarct dementia

ABSTRACT General practice patients aged 75 years and over were screened for cognitive impairment using the Mini-Mental State Examination. Those scoring 23 or below and a sample of those scoring 24 or 25 were asessed using the Cambridge Mental Disorders of the Elderly Examination (CAMDEX), a structured interview schedule specifically designed to detect mild dementia. The CAMDEX includes a mental state examination, a psychiatric history, detailed cognitive testing and an informant interview. The prevalence of dementia in 2311 patients was found to be 10.5%, about half that found in most earlier studies. Possible reasons for this low rate are discussed.