Alzheimer’s Rate Dropping Throughout The World

Alzheimer’s rate findings show that the disease is declining in developed countries such as the United States and Germany.

The drop in the Alzheimer’s rate was highlighted at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen by aging expert Dr. Kenneth Langa from the University of Michigan.

According to Langa, the good news for those in the U.S. comes probably as the result of “more education and control of health factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure.”

More on the studies from Yahoo!:

An American over age 60 today has a 44 percent lower chance of developing dementia than a similar-aged person did roughly 30 years ago… More than 5.4 million Americans and 35 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. It has no cure and current drugs only temporarily ease symptoms.

A drop in rates is a silver lining in the so-called silver tsunami — the expected wave of age-related health problems from an older population. Alzheimer’s will remain a major public health issue, but countries where rates are dropping may be able to lower current projections for spending and needed services… Recent studies from the Netherlands, Sweden and England have suggested a decline, and the new research extends this look to some other parts of the world.

In the U.S., the federally funded Framingham study monitored new dementia cases using data from several thousand people over the age of 60.

The study examined five-year periods starting in 1978, 1989, 1996, and 2006. “Compared with the first period, new cases were 22 percent lower in the second one, 38 percent lower in the third and 44 percent lower in the fourth one,” Yahoo! reports.

The average age of diagnosis also rose from 80 to 85 during the 30-year period.

“The results bring some hope that perhaps dementia cases might be preventable, or at least delayed” by improving health and education, said Claudia Satizabal of Boston University, the study’s leader.

National Institute on Aging epidemiology chief Dallas Anderson agreed.

“For those who get the disease, it may come later in life, which is a good thing. Getting the disease in your 80s or 90s is very different than getting it in your early 70s.”

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases researchers add that claims data from Germany’s largest public health insurance company indicate new cases of dementia declined significantly between 2007 and 2009 in men and women.

With news like this and recent breakthroughs in cause, treatment, and prevention, do you think the Alzheimer’s rate will continue to drop? Share your thoughts in our comments section.

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