Dementia rates fall

23 Nov

A very surprising finding reported in The New York Times:

Despite fears that rates were going to explode as the population grows older and fatter, and has more, a large nationally representative survey has found the reverse. Dementia is actually on the wane. And when people do get dementia, they get it at older and older ages.

You can read the original study here. The key points:

Question Has the prevalence of dementia among older adults in the United States changed between 2000 and 2012?

Findings In this observational cohort study of more than 21 000 US adults 65 years or older from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study, dementia prevalence declined significantly, from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2012.

Meaning Population brain health seemed to improve between 2000 and 2012; increasing educational attainment and better control of cardiovascular risk factors may have contributed to the improvement, but the full set of social, behavioral, and medical factors contributing to the improvement is still uncertain.

What are the causes of this good news?:

Increases in the level of education among the later-born cohort accounted for some of the decreased dementia risk, and there was some evidence that improvements in treatments for cardiovascular risk factors (eg, diabetes) may also have played a role. However, the full set of social, behavioral, and medical factors contributing to the decline in dementia prevalence is still uncertain.

One Response to “Dementia rates fall”

  1. Enrique Guerra-Pujol November 23, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

    Are people healthier or did we change the way we measure this?

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