"Is Dementia Declining Among Older Americans?" - Steven Reinberg
The rates of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia have dropped significantly over the last decade, a new study shows. The analysis of nearly 1,400 men and women 70 and older found that the number of dementia cases dropped from 73 among those born before 1920 to just 3 among those born after 1929. The reasons for the decline aren't clear, researchers said. But one factor stands out: The rates of stroke and heart attack decreased across generations. The rate of diabetes, however, has increased. "This is not unexpected," said Samuel Gandy, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "Similar trends have been documented in Europe." Dr. Gandy, who was not involved with the study, believes that much of the decline in the rate of dementia is the result of declining rates of stroke. "As cardiovascular health has improved, stroke incidence has fallen," he said. The health of the blood vessels in the brain contributes to the risk for dementia, Dr. Gandy said. "So one would predict that, over time, sustained reduction in stroke risk would be a precursor to reduced dementia risk."
- Samuel Gandy, MD, PhD, Professor, Neurology, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai