Background

Population ageing has become a major public health concern. Dementia and mental disorders affect independent functioning and pose significant burden to the patients and their families. With changing demographics in the Hong Kong ageing community, an update on prevalence estimates of dementia and late life mental disorders is required for good health care planning.

What is the study?

Hong Kong Mental Morbidity Survey for older people (HKMMSOP) is a study funded by the Food and Health Bureau of The Government of Hong Kong SAR. From 2019 to 2021, the research team from the Department of Psychiatry of the Chinese University of Hong Kong will invite 6000 older adults randomly recruited from different districts of Hong Kong for a free assessment on cognition and psychological health.

We aim to estimate the prevalence of different types of dementia in Hong Kong. For participants selected from our randomisation, we will perform detail cognitive, psychological and physical health assessments at neighbourhood social centres or at their homes. For participants with suspected cognitive impairment, we will arrange laboratory investigation including cardiovascular examination and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) study of the brain. All assessments are funded by the commissioned research grant from the Food and Health Bureau. Each participant will receive a brief report of their cognitive function and health status for record.

What will the study achieve?

HKMMSOP is the first comprehensive survey that examines the prevalence of dementia and significant mental disorder in the older community of Hong Kong. The update on prevalence of dementia and late-life mental disorder, potential modulating and cost of care will facilitate strategic planning in disease prevention at all levels.

Objectives

HKMMSOP aims to evaluate 1) prevalence of dementia and its subtypes, common mental disorders and psychosis syndromes in Hong Kong adults age 60 or over, 2) modulating factors for disease development or functional optimization, and 3) disease burden and cost of care.

Data Collection

This study is divided into the Phase 1 and the Phase 2. 6,000 participants aged 60 or over, stratified with age groups, will be recruited through random sampling of residential addresses and residential homes for elders over Hong Kong in Phase 1. The phase 1 will be conducted in the form of a home visit, which takes about 2 hours. Consented participants will be invited for an interview with cognitive, mental status, health and lifestyle assessment. People with suspected dementia or other severe mental disorders will be invited to Phase 2. At the same time, the research team will randomly select hundreds of physically and mentally healthy participants in Phase 1 to participate in Phase 2 study as control group.

In Phase 2 study, people with suspected dementia will undergo a blood test for blood glucose, cholesterol, gene expression, epigenetic, and genotyping analysis. In addition, appropriate participants will undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to explore subtypes of dementia.

Participants with more severe psychosis symptoms will be followed up by a psychiatrist for a deeper assessment. For the further information about participants’ daily life, the research team will also invite the their carer for an interview with the consent of the participants.

On the other hand, with the consent of the participants, the research team will review the relevant service records in Hospital Authority. This does not affect the medical services currently offered by the Hospital Authority.