Dementia declining in the United States

Research we're watching

Published: December, 2020

According to a study published in the Aug. 4, 2020, issue of Neurology, the number of new cases of dementia in Europe and North America has dropped 13% every 10 years over the past 30 years. Researchers looked at data collected by the Alzheimer's Research Consortium, which included people over age 65 in Europe and the United States.

The actual number of adults with dementia has increased dramatically in recent years as life expectancy increases. The condition currently affects some 47 million people worldwide, and that number is expected to increase in coming decades.

However, researchers found that the number of people with dementia was lower than would have been expected if the rate of new cases had remained the same. They came to this conclusion by studying data from seven studies that included more than 49,000 people, who were followed for a minimum of 15 years. They found that the number of new dementia diagnoses dropped more among men than women. Researchers speculated that the reductions seen may be due to treatment for dementia risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inflammation.

Image: designer491/Getty Images

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.