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BACKGROUND: The worldwide population is ageing and the proportion of elderly aged 60 and over is expected to dramatically rise in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). The epidemic of dementia will not spare those countries, where the largest increases in numbers of people affected are estimated. Besides, dementia is still understudied in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) compared to other regions. This paper describes the protocol for the 'Epidemiology of Dementia in Central Africa' population-based study, which aims at estimating the prevalence of dementia in two countries of Central Africa and investigating possible risk factors. METHODS/DESIGN: A multicenter population-based study was carried out in Central African Republic and Republic of Congo between 2011 and 2012 including both urban and rural sites in each country. Around 2000 participants aged ≥65 years old were interviewed in total using the Community Screening Interview for Dementia (CSI-D), the GMS-AGECAT and the CERAD's 10-word list. Elderly with low performance to the cognitive part of the CSI-D (COGSCORE ≤ 24.5) were then clinically assessed by neurologists and underwent further psychometrical tests. DSM-IV and NINCDS-ADRDA criteria were required for dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD) diagnoses respectively. The algorithmic 10/66 dementia diagnosis was also determined. Petersen's criteria were required for the diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment. Sociodemographic, and environmental factors including vascular, nutritional, biological, psychosocial and lifestyle factors were collected in each setting in order to investigate factors associated with dementia. Blood sampling was realized to investigate genetic variations that could modify the risk of dementia. DISCUSSION: For now, no large epidemiological study has been undertaken to compare the prevalence of dementia in both rural and urban areas within SSA countries. This programme will provide further evidence regarding the prevalence of dementia in SSA, and also the possible rural/urban disparities existing with associated factors. Furthermore, the genetics of AD in those populations will be addressed.

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Ageing, Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, Prevalence, Risk Factors, sub-Saharan Africa