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Decline in Prevalence of Dementia 2000 to 2012 in the United States

Rates have dropped over last decade, and better education might be one reason why

Elderly woman playing cards

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Dementia rates have dropped dramatically over the last decade or so, according to a report published online Nov. 21 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

An analysis of responses from a study of more than 21,000 adults 65 or older (10,546 adults in 2000 and 10,511 in 2012) found the prevalence of dementia dropped about 24 percent between 2000 and 2012.

The researchers also found that there was a significant increase in average educational attainment from 11.8 years of schooling in 2000 to 12.7 years in 2012. In addition, some evidence was found that more aggressive treatment of cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension and diabetes, may have also played a role in decreasing dementia risk.

"Our results do provide some hope and optimism that we can do things now to decrease dementia risk, so that the future impact, while still very large, may not be as dire as previously expected," lead author Kenneth Langa, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, told HealthDay.

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