Dementia and Alzheimer’s rates have dropped significantly in the past 10 years, a new study shows.
The number of dementia cases dropped from 73 among those born before 1920, to just 3 among those born after 1929. The reasons for this decline are uncertain, but perhaps connected to concurrent lower diabetes rates.
When participants entered the study, they were 70 or older and didn’t suffer from dementia.
Over the course of the study, Derby’s team found that the rate of dementia dropped steadily.
Among the 369 people born before 1920, 73 developed dementia, that number decreased to 43 among the 285 born between 1920 and 1924.
Dementia Rates Projected Forward
Forty seven million people worldwide have dementia, while 7 million new cases are diagnosed each year.
Overall, the number cases dementia projects to double every 20 years, and to reach 115 million by 2050. For example, current projections show that Alzheimer’s cases may climb to 106 million by 2050.
“While the rates may be going down, the problem is far from going away,” said James Hendrix, director of global science initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association.
Hendrix believes that living a healthy lifestyle might help prevent dementia. In fact, a combination of exercise, nutrition, and no smoking reduced dementia cases by 35 per cent.
Cases dropped to 31 for the 344 born between 1925 and 1929 and to 3 for the 350 born after 1929.
“This is not unexpected,” said Dr. Sam Gandy, director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Similar trends exist in Europe.
Gandy, believes this decline is connected to declining stroke rates.
“As cardiovascular health has improved, stroke incidence has fallen,” he said.
The health of the blood vessels in the brain contribute to the risk for dementia, Gandy said.
Although the rate of dementia has dropped, the number of cases are likely to increase, Gandy said.
“The aging baby boom is such that the overall number of dementia patients will continue to rise even while prevalence numbers are falling slightly,” he said.
Watch this informative video on Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: