Dementia refers to neurodegenerative diseases of the brain. Statistics reveal that approximately 7% of people over 65 suffer from some form of dementia, a percentage that rises to 40% above 80 or 85 years of age. A new study has revealed that the occurrence of dementia and Alzheimer's disease may have stabilized in some wealthy nations.
The study said, "A review of data from Sweden, the Netherlands, Britain and Spain showed the percentage of the population with dementia holding steady, along with the number of new cases." The findings suggest that an impending 'dementia epidemic', mainly due to an aging population could be less severe than feared. However, the findings were sharply contested by other experts.
Researchers led by Carol Brayne, a professor at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health and the University of Cambridge, compared the occurrence of dementia in old people across two time periods spanning the last several decades. The team found little change across the two periods, and in one case even a small decline, in the percentage of the population affected. The researchers said, "This unexpected trend could be the result of better living conditions and education, as well as improvements in the prevention and treatment of vascular diseases that lead to stroke and heart attack."
The study is published in The Lancet Neurology.