Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | Alzheimers | disease | dementia | U.S. | brain

Rate of Dementia in US Dropping

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Tuesday, 22 Nov 2016 02:51 PM

The rate of dementia in the U.S. has fallen sharply and is down 24 percent, a decline due in part to both rising education levels and better heart health, news reports say.

The incidence of dementia fell from 11.6 percent in 2000 to 8.8 percent in 2012, a decline of 24 percent, according to a study of more than 21,000 people across the country, CNN reports.

Improvements in education and improved treatment of cardiovascular risk factors were cited as likely reasons for the decline, the article notes.

Dementia is a general term for a loss of memory or other mental abilities that's severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, followed by vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke.

The study, which began in 1992, focuses on people over age 50, collecting data every two years. Researchers conduct detailed interviews with participants about their health, income, cognitive ability and life circumstances. The interviews also include physical tests, body measurements and blood and saliva samples, CNN says.

Although it isn’t known why the rate of dementia is decreasing, the study’s authors attributed the decline partly due to the fact that today’s elderly Americans are better educated than even a half generation ago.

That's significant, because many studies have found a strong link between higher educational levels and lower risk of disease, including dementia.

They also noted that doctors might be doing a better job controlling high blood pressure and diabetes, which can both boost the risk of age-related memory problems.

Research finds brain health and heart health are linked, experts say.

While advocates for people with dementia welcomed the news, they noted that Alzheimer's disease and other forms of memory loss remain a serious burden for the nation and the world.

Up to five million Americans today suffer from dementia, a number that is expected to triple by 2050, as people live longer and the elderly population increases, the article notes.

 

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A new study finds the incidence of dementia in the U.S. has declined by nearly 25 percent.
Alzheimers, disease, dementia, U.S., brain
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2016-51-22
 

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