Dementia May Be On The Decline

Dementia May Be On The Decline

A perfect example of research, medical breakthroughs, education and even alternative therapies is when something as debilitating as dementia begins to recede. Recently, results from combined studies of dementia progression over the last decade showed some promising results. It is important to note that many diseases are unpredictable so this may be a natural dip in the nature of things. However, it could mean something more hopeful.

Dementia Status

As you age there is a high chance that your body and mind will slowly degenerate. For some, it is so slow that by the end they are still cognizant and communicative but for others in addition to various potential physical struggles, brain disease may present itself as well. One of the most prevalent brain disease categories is dementia.

Dementia is not a disease itself but is the description of associated symptoms which include various levels of challenges with memory, language communication, focus, reasoning, balance and visual perception. One of the most prominent dementia diseases is Alzheimer’s.

According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association,

“Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and is the fifth leading cause among persons age 65 and older. A recent meta-analysis found global prevalence of dementia from all causes to be between 5% and 7% of adults age 60+.”

Recent Developments

It has been a difficult uphill battle when it comes to treating and successfully researching various dementias. In fact, some medical practitioners feel there will be a cure for many cancers before they are able to scratch the surface when it comes to manipulating the mechanisms of dementia. However, education and peripheral treatments may be slowly helping quell the march of this debilitating condition.

Recently the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Internal Medicine) released the results of ‘A Comparison of the Prevalence of Dementia in the United States in 2000 and 2012’ concluding that,

“The prevalence of dementia in the United States declined significantly between 2000 and 2012. An increase in educational attainment was associated with some of the decline in dementia prevalence, but the full set of social, behavioral, and medical factors contributing to the decline is still uncertain.”

This, of course, is good news but scientists must consider all the factors before celebrating the possible demise of dementia.

A 12 Year Study

The study which showed this decline was the culmination of data gathered from over 10,000 Americans 65 years or older. In the first “snapshot” of gathered numbers from the year 2000, 11.6% tested positive for at least one type of dementia. In the second snapshot in 2012 the number dropped to 8.8%.

According to John Haaga, director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging, the organization that funded this study,

“that’s well over a million people who don’t have dementia, who would have had it if the rates had stayed the same as 2000 rates,”

Possible Reasons for Dementia Decline

Scientists are trying to figure out how this extremely elusive condition could start to decline. They feel that, like many diseases, it could be running its course but others are crediting the massive push for education opportunities.

Dr. Kenneth Langa, a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan and the lead author of the study comments,

“One is that education might actually change the brain itself,…We think that it actually creates more, and more complicated, connections between the nerve cells so that you’re able to keep thinking normally later into life.”

Education is one theory but many believe it is a combination of factors. This includes the physical aspect such as the aggressive treatment of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, which are all linked to the development of one type of dementia or another.

Also included is the change in diet that many have adopted. This is the shunning of processed foods, salts, sugars and other “synthetic” foods for a healthier diet that includes fresh, plant based choices along with whole grains, legumes and good fatty-fish high in omega 3 fatty acids.

Keep on track with your health and there may be a chance that dementia will not touch you. All it takes is the same effort you may put into less important things like your smartphone or car. Dementia on the decline is a hopeful sign of the grand effort the medical industry has made to combat dementia related diseases.