Age-Specific Dementia Rates Are Falling in the USA

dementia

Although the aging of the population is causing an epidemic of dementia, a new review of the literature suggests that the age-specific incidence of the condition is actually falling. The trend appears to be a result of improvements in education levels, healthcare, and lifestyle.

Writing in a perspective published online November 27 in theNew England Journal of Medicine, a group led by Eric B. Larson MD, from the Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, cite 5 recent studies all documenting declining rates of age-standardized dementia during the last 30 years.

The studies, including 1 by 2 of the current authors, found that the decline tracked with early and ongoing education and improvements in healthcare and lifestyle. Factors that appeared to be associated with a reduced risk for dementia included physical activity, reducing vascular risk factors, retiring later, educated parents (especially an educated mother), maintaining social activities, and getting treatment for depression. Recent data from Scandinavia suggests recent reductions in age-specific incidence of dementia.

My Take: I agree with the authors: Research on preventing late-life dementias should explore ways of reducing risk factors at both the societal and the personal levels. We don’t know the extent to which better risk-factor control can reduce dementia rates. However, a potentially ominous trend that could lead to a reversal of the decrease in risk is the growing prevalence of obesity and diabetes among middle-aged and younger people. As for me, I’ll continue to focus on physical activity, avoiding being overwworking, and maintaining social activities. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minute; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

Reference: N Eng J Med. Published online November 27, 2013. Abstract

Published by

understandcancerin60minutes

Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s