Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Good news on the Alzheimer's epidemic: Risk for older adults declining

Date:
November 27, 2013
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
Improvements in education levels, health care and lifestyle credited for decline in dementia risk.

People are less likely to experience dementia and Alzheimer's disease today than they were 20 years ago -- and those who do may be developing it later in life -- says a new perspective article in the New England Journal of Medicine that examines the positive trends in dementia.

Authors examined five recent studies that suggest a decrease in the prevalence of dementia, crediting the positive trend to improvements in education levels, health care and lifestyle.

"We're very encouraged to see a growing number of studies from around the world that suggest that the risk of dementia may be falling due to rising levels of education and better prevention and treatment of key cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol," says co-author Kenneth Langa, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of Internal Medicine at the U-M Medical School and research investigator at the Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR), VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

"Our findings suggest that, even if we don't find a cure for Alzheimer's disease and dementia, there are social and lifestyle factors we can address to decrease our risk."

Authors also include Eric B. Larson, M.D., M.P.H., executive director of Group Health Research Institute and Group Health's vice president for research; and Kristine Yaffe, M.D., a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. Larson is also an adjunct professor at the University of Washington Schools of Medicine and Public Health.

Authors point to two key factors that may explain the decreased risk of dementia over the last few decades: People are completing more years of school, which helps the brain fight off dementia; and there's more awareness and focus on preventing heart disease, another big risk factor for Alzheimer's.

"The growing number of older adults in the U.S. and around the world means we will undoubtedly see a significant growth in the number of people with dementia, however the good news is they appear to be living longer without experiencing it," says Langa, who is also a member of the U-M Institute for Social Research, Institute of Gerontology and Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

"We are seeing a positive trend that suggests that improving our physical and mental health go hand in hand with fighting off this devastating condition."

In 2008, Langa and Larson reported one of the first studies suggesting a decline in U.S. dementia rates, using information from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study. They found that decline tracked with education and improvements in health care and lifestyle. Since then, several studies in Europe have confirmed this trend -- and the reasons behind it.

Other research has also shown that other factors decreasing risk include early and ongoing education, physical activity, retiring later, educated parents (especially an educated mother), maintaining social activities and getting treatment for depression.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eric B. Larson, Kristine Yaffe, Kenneth M. Langa. New Insights into the Dementia Epidemic. New England Journal of Medicine, 2013; 131127140053002 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1311405

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Good news on the Alzheimer's epidemic: Risk for older adults declining." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127225307.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2013, November 27). Good news on the Alzheimer's epidemic: Risk for older adults declining. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127225307.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Good news on the Alzheimer's epidemic: Risk for older adults declining." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127225307.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins