Study Shows Decline in Dementia Rates

There hasn’t been much good news to report lately about the incidence of dementia among seniors, until now.   A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, from the University of Michigan, has found there has been nearly a three point drop in the number of seniors diagnosed with dementia between 2000 and 2012.

The Health and Retirement Study used data and cognitive test results from a nationally representative sample of over 21,000 individuals over the age of 65.  Along with a decline in rates of dementia among older adults,  the data revealed that those with more years of education were less likely to develop dementia.

Three factors Michigan researchers believe contribute to seniors developing dementia include diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity; all of which can impede proper blood flow to the brain. By controlling cardiovascular risk in younger and middle age and keeping mentally challenged and active,  researchers anticipate that some of the risk for dementia in older age can be lessened.

The study, although hopeful, does not mitigate the huge burden on the health care system or family caregivers as the number of seniors swells with the aging Baby Boomer generation.  The challenge will continue to better meet the needs of older adults who do develop dementia.

To read more about the study, visit the University of Michigan Health Systems website by following this link.