More evidence has come to light that suggests that the crisis of dementia might not be as dangerous as a lot of people fear. A new study has shared results indicating that the rates of old people experiencing dementia in the US are declining. These results are similar to previously conducted studies in Europe and UK.
The observed data in the US study, made up of 21,057 individuals, showed that the rate of dementia fell to 8.8% in 2012 from 2000’s rate of 11.6%. All of the individuals were older than 65 years old. JAMA Internal Medicine is the journal the current research was published in. A factor that seems to have played a role in declining the rate of dementia, by protecting an individual’s brain from such an ailment, is thought to be higher education levels.
Some health experts have noted that the current research is quite important for the entire world. Similar studies have been published in Europe as well. One such study was published last year in Lancet Neurology. It too suggested that the rates of this brain disease in the UK have declined and have additionally stabilized in other countries that are a part of Europe.
The latest current study was conducted by Professor Kenneth Langa, at the University of Michigan. He said that the results from this study add to the already growing evidence suggesting that the risk of dementia is falling. All of the results also suggest that the initial burden of dementia might not be as severe in the future as researchers once thought.
The slow reduction in brain function due to this disease happens to be irreversible. There are no current treatments or drugs for this ailment. That is why findings the means of preventing dementia from occurring is imperative to doctors, researchers and other health experts.
It has been long suspected that education plays a role in protecting a person’s brain from this disease. The current study observed that while the rate of dementia was declining, there was an increase in the average duration of time older individuals spent in university and school. The said increase was 12.7 years in 2012 compared to 11.8 years back in 2000.
It could be a possibility that education presents a mental challenge to individuals that plays a role in protecting the cells of the brain from death as they grow older. It could also be possible that education might help the brain rewire itself as well as compensate for neuron death and thus, preventing the appearance of symptoms related to dementia.
Another factor that might play a role is being physically healthy. However, the current study showed that from 2000 to 2012 the rates of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes increased. There is a possibility that medication somehow aided in dampening the negative impacts these diseases give rise to in individuals.
According to Professor Carol Brayne, the researcher who conducted a similar analysis in Europe shared that the current US study does add to the already present evidence about dementia decline. All of the results further show the importance of education for better mental health in older individuals. Understanding all of the risk factors that could give rise to dementia can help health providers better prevent this ailment from occurring at all.