Dementia Rate in Decline: British and Danish Study

Two recently published studies have found that the dementia rate in older adults is dropping. On July 16, 2013, The New York Times reported:

The British study, published on Tuesday in The Lancet, and the Danish one, which was released last week, also in The Lancet, soften alarms sounded by advocacy groups and some public health officials who have forecast a rapid rise in the number of people with dementia, as well as in the costs of caring for them. The projections assumed the odds of getting dementia would be unchanged.The Lancet

Yet experts on aging said the studies also confirmed something they had suspected but had had difficulty proving: that dementia rates would fall and mental acuity improve as the population grew healthier and better educated. The incidence of dementia is lower among those better educated, as well as among those who control their blood pressure and cholesterol, possibly because some dementia is caused by ministrokes and other vascular damage. So as populations controlled cardiovascular risk factors better and had more years of schooling, it made sense that the risk of dementia might decrease. A half-dozen previous studies had hinted that the rate was falling, but they had flaws that led some to doubt the conclusions.

For the full New York Times article, click here. More information about the study is on The Lancet website.


For more information about dementia and support, visit the Alzheimer Society of B.C. website. The Society is dedicated to helping people concerned with or facing dementia have the confidence and skills to maintain quality of life. It is also committed to ensuring public perceptions reflect the real issues, and to securing funding for support and research.