Fall in the Risk of Alzheimer in US: Study

First Posted: Jul 16, 2014 06:14 AM EDT

Researchers recently found that the rate of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are falling in the United States and other developed countries. Alzheimer's is a major public concern as more people in the rich countries are living longer and hence, more cases are reported.

Other Studies from western Europe also suggest a decline in Alzheimer cases.

Researchers attribute this to better education and healthier lifestyle choices. "For an individual, the actual risk of dementia seems to have declined, probably due to more education and control of health factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure", Dr. Kenneth Langa an expert on aging from University of Michigan at Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen said, reports the Associated Press.

 The Framingham study in the United States tracked dementia in people over 60 in five-year periods from 1978 through 2006 and found that the rates declined progressively over the years. The rate came down by 44 percent  in the last period compared to the beginning of the study. The average age at which dementia was diagnosed also rose - from 80 during the first period to 85 in the last one.

According to Dean Hartley, director of science initiatives for the non-profit Alzheimer's Association, education might be a factor but there may be another hidden cause - the "cognitive reserve" theory, reports

The theory is that people who are more educated may be able to function normally, even when the brain begins to take on Alzheimer's-linked changes .These changes are the abnormal protein deposits known as "plaques" and "tangles.

"If then, brain should be active by reading, taking classes, playing and other activities to compensate for that damage by recruiting alternative brain cell network," Said Hartley

 Alzheimer's Association reports, approximately 5.4 million American and 35 million people worldwide have Alzheimer and the most common form is dementia. This ailment has no current cure and needs to be managed. The cost of the treatment and care for patients will total $214 billion this year.

The study was published in Alzheimer's Association journal.

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