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Dementia Risk has Fallen by 25 Percent for UK Seniors

Update Date: Jul 17, 2013 02:27 PM EDT
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Researchers reported that cancer survivors who were 65 or above from rural areas were 66 percent more likely to forgo medical care. (Photo : Photo:Flckr/ Horia Varlan)

Dementia is one of the worse health conditions that manifests in old age and currently afflicts around 35.6 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Recent studies have found that several possible preventable measures, which include working past retirement and being an active bookworm could stave off dementia. Both of these activities force the brain to stay engaged in everyday life. Another study has found that seniors are mentally healthier than they were a decade earlier, a sign that overall mental health might be improving for the elderly. In a recent study, more evidence revealed that old age might not be as bad as some people envisioned. This study found that for senior citizens living in the United Kingdom, the risk of developing dementia has fallen drastically.

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In this study conducted by researchers from Cambridge University, the team monitored 8,000 randomly picked seniors over the age of 65 from 2008 to 2011. The researchers kept track of the number of people who developed dementia and compared these statistics to a group of adult participants who were followed from 1989 to 1994. There were 7,000 people in this second data set. The researchers found that since the 1990s, the risk of developing dementia has fallen by 25 percent with the number of diagnosed cases dropping from 8.3 percent to 6.5 percent over the 20-year span. Even though the researchers recorded a reduction in dementia risks, the number of dementia survivors is still on the rise. The researchers also found that the rate of senior citizens living in home care with dementia has risen from 56 percent to 70 percent.

The researchers remind people that they found a drop in the risk of dementia, but not actually a drop in the number of people with dementia. The researcher theorized that the risk factor could have fallen due to progress made in treating chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. The research team also noted that there was a drop in tobacco usage, which is a risk factor for dementia.

"This interesting study could indicate that better heart health and education are combining to play a role in reducing dementia prevalence," commented a spokesman from the Alzheimer's Society according to Daily Mail. "While this is good news, this is one study which needs careful examination and may not indicate a continuing trend. Dementia remained the biggest health and social care challenge facing the UK."

According to Alzheimer's Research UK, dementia affects 820,000 people within the nation and costs the nation 23 billion pounds per year. The study was published in The Lancet

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