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Study finds that 1 in 10 Americans aged 65+ have dementia

According to a 2016 study, one in 10 Americans aged 65 and older had dementia. 22% suffered from mild cognitive impairment, which is the first stage of the gradual slide into senility.

According to the researchers, this research is the first nationally representative examination of cognitive impairment prevalence in more than 20 years. It was able to measure the prevalence of mild cognitive impairment and dementia by age, education, and gender.

Results showed that older adults who identified as Black or African American had a higher likelihood of developing dementia than those who identified as Hispanic. However, mild cognitive impairment was more common in Hispanics. Both conditions were more common in those with less than a high-school education.

Jennifer Manly, the lead author of the study, stated that dementia research has been largely focused on white college-educated individuals.

“This study represents the entire population of older adults, and includes groups that were historically excluded from dementia research, but are more at risk for cognitive impairment due to structural racism and income inequality,” stated Manly. He is a professor of neuropsychology at the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center as well as the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease.

Manly stated, “If we want to increase brain health equity later in life, we must know where we are now and where we should direct our resources.”

Deep analysis

The study was published in JAMA Neurology on Monday. It analyzed data from neuropsychological tests and interviews conducted with almost 3,500 participants in the Health and Retirement Survey, a long-term research program sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and Social Security Administration.

This research was done using a random sample of participants in the study who completed the core survey and were subject to neurological testing between June 2016 – October 2017.

The study revealed that 15 percent of Black people had dementia and 22% had mild cognitive impairment. Ten percent of Hispanics had dementia. However, the rate for milder problems was higher: 28% of Hispanics were positive for mild cognitive impairment. Nine percent of Whites had dementia and 21% had mild cognitive impairment.

Experts consider education to be protective against cognitive decline. However, there was a substantial gap in the results: Only 9 percent of people who have a college degree were positive for dementia, while 13% of those without a high school diploma were positive. A mere 21% of 65-year-olds with a college degree had a mild cognitive decline. This compares to 30% for those who have less than a high school diploma.

The highest levels of mild cognitive impairment and dementia were found in the elderly. Only 3% of people aged 65-69 were positive for dementia, while 35% of those over 90 had it.

According to the report, each five-year increase in age was associated with a higher risk for mild cognitive impairment and dementia. However, the study found no difference in rates between men and women for either condition.

Mild cognition symptoms

Mild cognitive impairment may manifest as a loss of items, difficulty remembering things, forgetting appointments or forgetting to complete tasks, and even difficulties with writing. According to the National Institute on Aging, symptoms can include loss of taste or smell and movement problems.

People with mild cognitive impairment can take care of themselves. “But what they have to undergo to do so is exhausting,” Laura Baker, a professor of geriatric medicine and gerontology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina said in an earlier interview. She was not part of the current study.

Baker stated that mild cognitive impairment can cause people with mild cognitive impairment to forget where they should be. ” “Let me look at my calendar. Oh, I forgot what to write on this planner. Let’s look at another calendar. Oh no! I cannot find the calendar. I’ve lost my phone. I can’t find the key. “I can’t find it.”

Experts say that not everyone with mild cognitive impairment develops dementia. Lifestyle changes could be key to reversing the mental decline. In a 2019 study, personalized lifestyle interventions such as diet, exercise and sleep hygiene not only prevented cognitive decline in those at high risk of Alzheimer’s but also increased memory and thinking abilities for 18 months. A follow-up study showed that women responded better to the intervention than men.

A February study showed that about a third (33%) of older women with mild cognitive impairment had reversed the progression to dementia during follow-up. The women had excellent writing skills and high education, which experts refer to as “cognitive reserve”.

Dementia symptoms

According to the National Institutes of Health, signs of dementia may vary from person to person. They can include memory loss, confusion, difficulty understanding, expressing thoughts, or reading and writing.

Dementia patients can be impulsive or have poor judgment. They may also have difficulty paying their bills or managing money responsibly. They might repeat questions or use unfamiliar words to refer to familiar objects. They can take longer to complete daily tasks.

Another sign of dementia is wandering around and getting lost in a familiar area. They might lose their balance, or have problems with their movement. People with dementia may experience paranoia or hallucinate at times.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. However, cognitive problems can also be caused by vascular issues that prevent blood flow to the brain or by ministrokes due to tiny blood clots traveling to the brain. Frontal lobe disease, which is rare and often occurs in those younger than 60, is thought to be caused by abnormal levels of TDP-43 and tau. The second type of dementia is Lewy body. This is caused by abnormal accumulations of the protein alpha-synuclein. These are known as Lewy bodies.

The NIH stated that anyone with cognitive decline or dementia should be evaluated by a neurologist to find the root cause. Some medications may cause side effects that mimic dementia.

According to the National Institutes of Health, if you have just been diagnosed with dementia, it is a good idea to continue meeting with specialists and doctors. You might also want to ask for a referral to a memory clinic. Consider joining a clinical trial by reaching out to your local Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides detailed information about the differences between Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as many levels of support for caregivers and patients.

Stay healthy. Exercise can help with mood, balance, and thinking. Quality sleep and a well-balanced eating plan can also improve brain function.

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