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Public Health Alzheimer's Resource Center alz.org | publichealth

Public Health News

Stay up-to-date with the latest in Alzheimer's prevention research, surveillance and data.

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Now Available: 2015 BRFSS Cognitive Data

One in nine Americans aged 45 and older are experiencing confusion or memory loss that is happening more often or is getting worse, but 56 percent have not talked to a health care professional about their worsening memory problems, according to data from the 2015 BRFSS survey in 33 states and DC. Learn more about the data, including state-specific results.  Learn more about the data, including state-specific results.

Surveillance is an essential function of public health. It involves collecting data to better understand the extent of a problem and its impact, and to motivate policy makers to address the problem. Each year, every state conducts a public health survey through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

Recent work by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now enables states to collect data through the BRFSS on the impact of Alzheimer's disease using:

The Cognitive Module

The BRFSS Cognitive Module provides demographic, geographic and socioeconomic data regarding subjective cognitive decline. The module asks about memory and cognitive abilities as well as the impact of any memory loss on daily living. Five states served as pilots for the module in 2009, and 22 states asked the questions in 2011. Another 23 states and the District of Columbia asked the questions in 2012, and 19 states and Puerto Rico asked the questions in 2013. Most recently, 35 states and territories used the Cognitive Module in 2015.

The BRFSS Cognitive Module was revised for use in the 2015 survey. Due to this, data may not be comparable across years.

Data from the 2015 BRFSS Cognitive Module


Data from the 2013 BRFSS Cognitive Module


Data from the 2012 BRFSS Cognitive Module


Data from the 2011 BRFSS Cognitive Module



CDC Reports on 2009 BRFSS Cognitive Impairment Pilot States Data:

"In public health, we can’t do anything without surveillance. That’s where public health begins."

– David Satcher,
former U.S. Surgeon General

The Caregiver Module

The Caregiver Module provides data about caregivers and the challenges they face. This module asks about a care recipient's health problems and greatest care needs. It enables us to compare the experiences of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers with caregivers of people with other conditions.

Download the Surveillance Fact Sheet

Learn more about surveillance and how data from using these two BRFSS modules helps us better understand the impact of Alzheimer's.

Contact us

For more information on Alzheimer's disease and public health, contact Molly French.


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.