Prevalence Of Dementia Among Americans Aged 65+ Falls By 33%: RAND

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According to a RAND Corp. study, the frequency of dementia among Americans over 65 has drastically decreased between 2000 and 2016. 

According to the researchers, the age-adjusted prevalence of dementia decreased nationwide from 12.2% of persons over the age of 65 in 2000 to 8.5% of people over the age of 65 in 2016.  The study discovered that while there is still a gender gap in dementia prevalence among females, it has become smaller.  

Over a 16-year period, the prevalence of dementia among men decreased by 3.2 percentage points, from 10.2% to 7.0%. Women experienced a bigger decline, from 13.6% to 9.7%, a drop of 3.9 percentage points.  

The researchers noted that gaps in dementia prevalence between Black men and White men have also closed. Dementia prevalence in non-Hispanic White males reduced from 9.3% to 6.6%, whereas it decreased from 17.2% to 9.9% among non-Hispanic Black men.  

The researchers noted that gaps in dementia prevalence between Black men and White men have also closed. Dementia prevalence in non-Hispanic White males reduced from 9.3% to 6.6%, whereas it decreased from 17.2% to 9.9% among non-Hispanic Black men.  

Although the causes of the drop in dementia prevalence are uncertain, Péter Hudomiet, the study’s lead author, said the trend is positive for older Americans.  

He told UPI that the researchers anticipated an overall drop in dementia prevalence, which is consistent with a number of recent studies from the US and Europe. We were less certain about how recently changing dementia disparities.  

In an email to UPI, Hudomiet, an economist at the nonprofit research firm RAND in California, stated: “Given that health, disparities were thought to have risen over the past few decades, these encouraging results were somewhat unexpected. Fortunately, the disparity in dementia is getting less, unlike in mortality.”  

On Monday, the study was released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publication.  

RAND estimates that 6.2 million American individuals 65 and older will have dementia in 2021. Increases in life expectancy are predicted to significantly increase the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, from an estimated 50 million to 150 million affected persons globally by 2050. Age is the largest risk factor for dementia.  



However, the researchers noted “growing evidence” that the prevalence of age-adjusted dementia has been declining in developed nations. This decline may be attributed to higher education levels, a decline in smoking, and improved management of significant cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure.  

Hudomiet added that it’s also likely that some of the drops may be related to people following such advise, given the abundance of papers being published on preventative measures for dementia.  

It’s also conceivable that other behavioral elements, including smoking cessation, cognitive activities, social activities, etc., were involved, the author added. Since 2000, researchers have discovered a shrinking gender disparity in dementia cases; this, he continued, “occurred at the same time that the labor force participation rate among women dramatically climbed.”  

A comprehensive collection of cognitive tests from over 21,000 participants in the long-running, nationally representative Health and Retirement Study were used by RAND modeling to examine cognitive status.  

The algorithm can generate precise estimates of dementia prevalence by age, sex, education, race, and ethnicity, as well as by a measure of lifetime earnings, according to researchers.  

According to RAND, changes in the older population by age, race, and ethnicity, and cardiovascular risk factors mattered less than higher education, which statistically contributed to about 40% of the reduction in dementia prevalence among men and 20% of the reduction in dementia prevalence among women.  

However, as stated by RAND, different demographic groups are bridging the education gap. According to Hudomiet, reducing health disparities in general and dementia disparities in particular, may be accomplished by closing the education gap between racial and ethnic groups. This is a crucial public health policy objective. 

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