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The official age-adjusted U.S. death rate from Alzheimer’s disease continues to creep up.

The Alzheimer’s death rate for the 12-month period ending in the third quarter of 2017 increased to 30.9 per 100,000 people, up from 29.9 per 100,000 people for the comparable period in 2016.

Analysts at the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), have reported those figures in a selection of mortality data for the third quarter. 

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CDC analysts have already posted data for some indicators, such as the overall death rate and the heart disease death rate, but they have not yet posted data for other indicators, such as the death rate from falls for people ages 65 and older.

Here are how some other age-adjusted 12-month death rates changed between the third quarter of 2016 and the third quarter of 2017:

  • The overall death rate: Increased to 730 per 100,000 lives, from 724.4 per 100,000 lives.

  • The heart disease death rate: Fell to 164.1 per 100,000 lives, from 164.8 per 100,000 lives.

  • The cancer death rate: Fell to 152.8 per 100,000 lives, from 156.2 per 100,000 lives.

For the analysts one challenge with analyzing the death rate data is random error. Another challenge is data collection and reporting problems. For September, for example, the analysts still have little mortality data for Arizona.

Another challenge may be that changes in diagnostic methods, and in physicians’ way of thinking, could affect how causes of death are recorded.

A third challenge may be that the analysts’ efforts to adjust death rates for changes in the age of the U.S. population could add new errors. 

The crude, non-adjusted, overall 12-month death rate increased to 859.2 per 100,000 lives in the third quarter of 2017, from 842 per 100,000 lives in the year-earlier quarter.

The crude, non-adjusted, 12-month death rate for Alzheimer’s disease increased to 37.1 per 100,000 lives, from 35.3 per 100,000 lives.

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