According a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, the age-adjusted rates for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease worldwide are dropping among people born in the first half of the 20th century. Due to the aging of the population, there are more new cases of dementia being reported, but based on recent trends, it appears as if those who do succumb to dementia are developing it later in life.
The good news is that people can live well into their last decades and still retain most of their mental function. The authors of the article attribute the decline to better levels of education and improved controls of cardiovascular risk factors for dementia, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Although today’s aged population is showing a decline in dementia, the authors point out that the increase in obesity and diabetes among younger people could reverse this positive trend. The solution? Getting younger people to adopt a healthier lifestyle to control the risk factors that promote dementia later in life.