New Study Finds Downward Trend in Dementia Prevalence Among American Seniors

Dementia affects many older adults in America. However, the overall percentage of American seniors with dementia is decreasing. This is occurring in spite of the fact that three risk factors for dementia are on the rise: diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. The “baby boomers”, the largest generation in American history, is now entering their twilight years. This puts them in the age range where many develop dementia. In spite of that, a downward trend in dementia has emerged in recent studies. This downward trend has far reaching impacts on the economy, due to an improved overall dementia forecast. There was nearly a three-point drop in the percentage of seniors with dementia between 2000 and 2012. The average number of lifetime years of education which seniors had received rose during that time from 12 years to 13 years. Investments in education may be paying off in better brain health. Dementia in older adults is often due to multiple causes, such as Alzeheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. Researchers are attempting to learn more about dementia by focusing on the cognitive reserve concept. Also, continued focus is on decreasing the nation’s overall cardiovascular risk through controlling diabetes and hypertension and increasing physical activity among middle-aged and younger adults.

Key Points:

  • 1In a hopeful sign for the health of the nation’s brains, the percentage of American seniors with dementia is dropping, a new study finds
  • 2The downward trend has emerged despite something else the study shows: a rising tide of three factors that are thought to raise dementia risk by interfering with brain blood flow, namely diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
  • 3Those with the most years of education had the lowest chances of developing dementia, according to the findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine by a team from the University of Michigan.

11.6 percent of those interviewed in 2000 met the criteria for dementia, while in 2012, only 8.8 percent did.

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