Dementia might be stabilizing in some wealthy nations

A study published in the popular journal The Lancet Neurology on Friday has suggested that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease may have stabilized in a few wealthy nations.

After reviewing data obtained from the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and Sweden, scientists have found that the percentage of dementia stricken population in these countries is holding steady and the same can be said about the number of new diagnoses. For those who don’t know: Dementia is the umbrella term used for all neurodegenerative diseases the brain gets affected with.

During this new study, researchers under the leadership of Professor Carol Brayne, a representative of both the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Institute of Public Health, compared the rate of occurrence of the disease in elderly people during two separate time periods through the past few decades.

The research team found that there hasn’t been any increase in the percentage of population affected in the above-mentioned nations across the two phases. What’s more significant is that in one case they even observed a slight decline in the percentage affected by dementia.

Researchers believe that this surprising trend might have resulted from improved education and living conditions in these countries. According to them, advancements in treatment and prevention of vascular diseases known to cause heart attacks and strokes might also be responsible for this unexpected trend.

In one of her recent statements, Prof. Brayne said that the suggested reduction in occurrence of dementia coincides with significant improvements in different protective factors and an overall decrease in common risk factors during the past few decades.

If confirmed, these findings will surely make some great news and would mean that an impending dementia epidemic might not be as severe as previously feared. Here, it must be mentioned that many experts believe that the world will soon experience a dementia epidemic due to the increase in its aging population.

Recently obtained statistics suggest that around 7% of people above the age of 65 develop some form of dementia. This percentage increases to 40% in individuals above the age of 80 or 85 years.

Experts reviewing this new study, however, have challenged all underlying numbers. They have cautioned that the conclusions put forward by the study regarding the factors that stabilized dementia, if any, are overdrawn.