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Mild Cognitive Impairment: ISS Produces the First Epidemiological Estimation of the Phenomenon Among Migrants in Europe

January 30, 2020
Rome, Italy – In a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers from Italy’s Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) (National Institute of Health) estimated about 680,000 cases of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), in a total of 12,730,960 migrants, aged between 60 and 89 years, living in the European Union (EU) in 2018.

The proportion of cases among migrants (compared to the total in the resident population) ranged from 1.1% in Romania to 54.1% in Liechtenstein, with an overall increase over four years of 34%, rising from 511,624 cases in 2014 to 686,000 in 2018. In Italy, 34,655 cases were estimated among migrants (916,865 in the general population), equal to 3.8% of the foreign-born residents in our country.

“MCI and dementia represent and, presumably, will increasingly constitute a relevant issue in terms of public health in migrants living in Europe,” says Marco Canevelli, the ISS researcher, coordinator of the study. “These estimates, besides their particular relevance in the light of the socio-demographic changes taking place, confirm the need to develop and adopt models of care and assistance that are sensitive to diversity and inclusive towards a population which, from an ethnocultural point of view, is extremely varied. For this reason, it is necessary to develop and adopt tools that enable a cross-cultural cognitive assessment.”

In this regard, the expert goes on to say, “It would be appropriate to consider the possible involvement of professionals such as interpreters and cultural mediators, considering that the identification of MCI can be affected and complicated by various ethnocultural determinants that can influence the personal and social perception of individual cognitive functioning as well as the reliability of cognitive evaluation.”

“In a context of a clear increase in migration flows from developing countries to Western countries, which also implies a change in public health provisions, ‘counting’ becomes important,” says Nicola Vanacore, scientific director of the ISS Dementia Observatory. “In this sense, the estimates produced in this study represent the foundation on which to build on within in the ImmiDem project – Dementia in Immigrants and ethnic minorities: clinical-epidemiological aspects and public health perspectives – the first project dedicated to the prevalence of dementia in the immigrant population and ethnic minorities, coordinated by the ISS, with the aim of assessing the use of dedicated healthcare resources and services and promoting adequate treatment pathways.”

The number of MCI cases in older migrants (≥ 60 years) residing in the 28 EU countries, and in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, as of January 2018 was calculated by multiplying the number of migrants provided by Eurostat, updated to 2019, and the age-specific MCI prevalence rates derived from the harmonised data produced by the COSMIC collaboration.

Dementia in the world
The WHO Report provides alarming growth estimates for dementia: 35.6 million cases in 2010 that will double in 2030 and triple in 2050 with 7.7 million new cases per year (one every four seconds) and whose economic impact on health systems will be about USD604 billion per year, and progressively increasing.

In Italy, the total number of patients with dementia is estimated at over one million (of which about 600 thousand with Alzheimer’s dementia) and about three million people are directly or indirectly involved in caring for their loved ones.

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Full study at: “Mild Cognitive Impairment in the Migrant Population Living in Europe: An Epidemiological Estimation of the Phenomenon” by M Canevelli, V Zaccaria, E Lacorte, I Cova, G Remoli, I Bacigalupo, S Cascini, AM Bargagli, S Pomati, L Pantoni, N Vanacore (DOI: 10.3233/JAD-191140). The article is published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Volume 73, Issue 2 (January 2020). It is available at:

For further information, please contact Daniela De Vecchis , Ufficio Stampa, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) (+39 649906601 or

About the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Now in its 23rd year of publication, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (JAD) is an international multidisciplinary journal to facilitate progress in understanding the etiology, pathogenesis, epidemiology, genetics, behavior, treatment, and psychology of Alzheimer’s disease. The journal publishes research reports, reviews, short communications, book reviews, and letters-to-the-editor. Groundbreaking research that has appeared in the journal includes novel therapeutic targets, mechanisms of disease, and clinical trial outcomes. JAD has a Journal Impact Factor of 3.517 according to Journal Citation Reports (Web of Science Group, 2019) and is published by IOS Press.

About IOS Press
IOS Press is headquartered in Amsterdam with satellite offices in the USA, Germany, India and China and serves the information needs of scientific and medical communities worldwide. IOS Press now publishes more than 80 international peer-reviewed journals and about 75 book titles each year on subjects ranging from computer science, artificial intelligence, and engineering to medicine, neuroscience, and cancer research.