Dementia Rates Decline Amid Better Education
Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that rates of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia have noticeably declined since 2000. However, although dementia rates have declined, that doesn't mean there are fewer people with Alzheimer's. In fact, the total number of people in the U.S. living with dementia continues to rise.
A recent study conducted by a team at the University of Michigan examined the medical records of 21,000 people with an average age of 75 years. Testing showed that the dementia rate in people over the age of 65 dropped from 11.6 percent to 8.8 percent in 2012.
According to researchers, declining dementia rates may be due, in part, to better education—the average amount of education in 2000 was 11.8 years and, in 2012, the average amount was 12.7 years. It may also be associated with better treatment for conditions like diabetes and heart disease. A "cognitive reserve" resulting from a lifetime of learning has been shown to help prevent dementia, as has a healthy lifestyle. Cardiovascular disease—including high blood pressure and high cholesterol—and obesity can increase dementia risk.
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