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Cases of Dementia Across the US on a Decline

Nov 23, 2016 04:10 AM EST
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Human life expectancy has greatly increased over the last few years. A hundred years ago, people living even in the most modern environments only lived until a little pass 50 years old. Considering the leaps of medical technology, the average life expectancy is at 78.8 year old in the United States and  71 years old worldwide.

Unfortunately, longer life span is not necessarily a good thing. As people grow older, their bodies lose agility and strength to perform basic functions. Needless to say, the increase in older people have seen a corresponding increase in the cases of patients suffering from age-associated conditions including dementia. Thankfully, at least with dementia, the number of instances is gradually becoming smaller, at least according to a recent study conducted by scientists from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

In a report published recently by JAMA Internal Medicine, Dr. Kenneth M. Langa and his team demonstrated how prevalence of dementia in the United States have decreased in the last decade or so. The experts used data from the Health and Retirement study that included 21,000 adults, aged 65 and older.

In 2000, 11.6% of the participants suffered from dementia. In twelve years, that statistics dipped by 2.8%. In 2012, reported cases of the age-associated disease only charts in at 8.8%.

Nevertheless, Langa and his coauthors were quick to explain that more research is needed in order to fully understand the disease. Their study did not tap into the reason for the decline. The team remains hopeful that their research would foster more studies surrounding the decrease in dementia cases.

"Continued monitoring of trends in dementia incidence and prevalence will be important for better gauging the full future societal impact of dementia as the number of older adults increases in the decades ahead, as well as clarifying potential protective and risk factors for cognitive decline" concluded the paper as reported by Eureka Alert.  

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