Good news from the Framingham Heart Study showing that dementia rates fell steadily over the past few decades. The long-running study reports that dementia rates have fallen by 44% in the past 40 years. The study included 5205 participants age 60 and up and shows a decrease in dementia from 3.6 per 100 persons in the late 1970s to 2 per 100 persons in recent years.
Study authors say the sharpest decline was in a type called vascular dementia, which is caused by damage to the blood vessels that carry oxygen to the brain. The average age for participants to be diagnosed with dementia increased from 80 to 85 during the study period. A decline in heart disease was also observed as the study progressed. The decline in dementia is believed to be linked to the declining rates of heart disease.
Keeping our hearts and brains in good shape is the key to staying healthy and happy for as long as possible. Exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco are just a few ways to fight off dementia.
Source: Satizabal C, Beiser A, Chouraki V, et al. Incidence of dementia over three decades in the Framingham Heart Study. The New England Journal of Medicine, 2016; 374: 523-532.