A new study showed that the risk of dementia and its various diseases has decreased just as the average age of the global population is growing older.
The study was conducted by a team of scientists led by University of Michigan, Ann Arbor professor of medicine, Dr. Kenneth Langa.
Their research results were published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal on Monday, November 21 under the following title: “A Comparison of the Prevalence of Dementia in the United States in 2000 and 2012.”
As the title indicates, the research was based on data gathered in 2000 and 2012. As data from each year in part was gathered, the study involved over 10,000 Americans aged 65 years old or older.
After comparing the sets of information, researchers reached the conclusion that the rates of appearance and risk of dementia are falling.
Research showed that in 2000, 11.6 percent of the analyzed individual presented some type of dementia.
In contrast, from the data gathered in 2012, just 8.8 percent of the residents involved suffered from the disease or one of its subtypes.
This went to show that the risk of dementia has decreased as it was seen when taking into consideration the 2000 percentage.
If the rates would have been the same, over a million more people would have suffered from the disease in 2012.
The aforementioned numbers were offered by John Haaga, the director of the National Institute of Aging, that funded the study, Division of Behavioral and Social Research.
Although other similar studies have been conducted before, they were somewhat lacking in terms of diversity.
The current study used data gathered from people belonging to very diverse backgrounds. The information used in the study draws from the ongoing Health and Retirement study.
In turn, the aforementioned study includes around 20,000 American residents belonging to diverse ethnic, economic, and ethnic backgrounds.
As such, the study led by Dr. Langa went to show that the decreasing risk of dementia rates are a nationwide trend, and not a mere geographical or ethnical one.
The exact reasons for the decreasing rates of the disease are as yet unknown, but the scientists believe that education might be a factor.
According to statistics, the national average amount of education has also been noted to have increased.
In 2000, the average amount was just shy of 12 years, 11.8 years to be more exact, which meant that most were almost high school graduates.
The 2012 average amount of education was seen to have increased to a 12.7 years value. This means that most people graduated from high school and even had some college time.
According to the study’s lead, education may actually be capable of changing the brain itself. By forming a higher number and more complicated connections, the brain could be able to better defend itself.
Medical factors were also taken into consideration as the risk of dementia factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, and diabetes are rising in frequency.
However, although the risk of dementia rates have been noted to have fallen, specialists expect a rise in the number of dementia cases as the average population continues to age.
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