Dementia Incidence May Be Declining Worldwide

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Studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen this week indicate that the incidence of dementia may have leveled off – or possibly declined – both in the United States and other developed countries.

For example, data encompassing 30 years of research from the Framingham Heart Study shows that rates of new dementia cases were almost 50% lower (44%) in the four most five-year periods examined, said Claudia L. Satizabal, PhD, of Boston University.

Declining rates of dementia have been observed since the inception of the Framingham study in the 1970s. For example, the incidence of dementia in the 1980s was 22% lowered than in the 1970s. Along those lines, dementia incidence during the 1990s epoch was 38% lower than in the 1970s.

A German database study found that dementia incidence fell 20% from 2004-2007 to 2007-2010. During the same time, the incidence in men dropped 19%. And for women, dementia rates fell 3.5% between 2009, reported Gabriele Doblhammer, PhD, of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn.

“A number of studies now suggest a declining age-specific risk of dementia in high-income countries over the last 25 years, which, if continued, could moderate the growth in dementia cases,” Kenneth Langa, MD, PhD, of the University of Michigan, said at a conference news briefing.

Data Indicates Declining Incidence of Dementia Worldwide
Data Indicates Declining Incidence of Dementia Worldwide

The incidence rate for dementia may have flattened or even declined in the U.S. and other developed nations, findings from several studies presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark suggest.

For example, 30 years of data from the Framingham Heart Study indicate that age- and sex-adjusted rates of new dementia cases were 44% lower in the most recent four 5-year epochs compared with the first, according to Claudia L. Satizábal, PhD, of Boston University.

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