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Dementia rates have dropped, despite aging population

| | August 25, 2015
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It’s one public health message that has seeped in. There’s a dementia tsunami on the way, an inevitable consequence of our steadily greying population.

Those spreading the word range from medical researchers to charities, and even the UK prime minister David Cameron.

But the figures tell a different story. And this misunderstanding may be contributing to a dementia strategy that is taking a cruel toll on those affected, some doctors say.

Four out of five large studies in different European countries have now suggested that our chance of getting dementia by any particular age is less than that of previous generations.

The UK study found that this sufficiently counterbalanced the rise in the number of people living into their 80s and 90s so that the total number of people with dementia stays roughly stable.

So why has the risk of dementia decreased? There are several possible contributing factors. Our physical health has improved markedly over the past century, due to less malnutrition and infectious disease; and more recently we’ve made progress to improve the health of our hearts and blood vessels, which also helps to protect the brain. In addition, we are more mentally stimulated than ever before, from childhood through to old age.

That view is lent weight by another recent study, which suggests there are many things that we could potentially do to reduce our risk of developing the condition, starting from early on in life.

Read full, original post: What dementia ‘tsunami’? Your chances of getting it have dropped

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