A Study Shows That One In Ten Americans Over 65 Has Dementia

According to a recent study conducted between 2016 and 2017, one in ten Americans over 65 had dementia, while 22% had mild cognitive impairment, the first stage of the gradual descent towards senility. The study’s ability to determine the prevalence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment by age, education, ethnicity, gender, and race made it the first nationally representative investigation of cognitive impairment prevalence in more than 20 years, according to the study’s authors.

The findings indicated that whereas older persons who self-identified as Hispanic were more likely to have mild cognitive impairment, those who self-identified as Black or African American were more likely to have dementia. Less-educated individuals were more likely to suffer from both illnesses.

According to lead study author Jennifer Manly, “Dementia research in general has largely concentrated on college-educated people who are racialized as white.” According to Manly, a professor of neuropsychology at Columbia University’s Gertrude H.

Sergievsky Center and Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, the study includes groups that have historically been excluded from dementia research but are more likely to experience cognitive impairment due to structural racism and income inequality. We must understand where we are right now and where to focus our resources if we want to increase the equity of brain health in later age, according to Manly.

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In-Depth Analysis

The Health and Retirement Study, a lengthy research project supported by the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration, included nearly 3,500 people over the age of 65. The study, which was published on Monday in the journal JAMA Neurology, analysed data from extensive neuropsychological tests and interviews with these participants.

The study’s findings were based on a sample of participants who underwent neurological testing and completed the main survey between June 2016 and October 2017. According to the survey, 22% of persons who identified as Black showed mild cognitive deterioration and 15% of them had dementia. Dementia affected 10% of those who identified as Hispanic, whereas 28% of those who tested positive for mild cognitive impairment had the condition. Dementia affected 9% of White persons, whereas mild cognitive impairment affected 21%.

There was a noticeable disparity in educational attainment, which scientists believe to be protective against cognitive decline: In comparison to 13% of those who never completed high school, just 9% of people with college degrees tested positive for dementia. When compared to individuals with less than a high school diploma, 30% of those over 65 with college degrees experienced modest cognitive deterioration.

The prevalence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment was highest in the very elderly. Dementia was detected in only 3% of persons aged 65 to 69 and 35% of those 90 and beyond. The findings stated that a higher risk of dementia and mild cognitive impairment was actually connected with every five years of age increasing. However, the study found no variations in each condition’s incidence rates between men and women.

Mild Cognition Symptoms

Losing things, forgetting to do tasks or attend to appointments, and having trouble coming up with words are all signs of moderate cognitive impairment. According to the National Institute on Aging, other symptoms include loss of taste and smell as well as problems moving. According to Laura Baker, a professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, people with mild cognitive impairment are fully capable of caring for themselves, “but what they have to go through to do so is exhausting,” she told CNN in an earlier interview.

She wasn’t a part of the current research. According to Baker, those who have modest cognitive impairment could forget where they should be. Let me look at my calendar. Oh, I should have marked this calendar. Let’s look at a different calendar. Oh, I can’t seem to locate that calendar. I misplaced my phone.

The key is where? I cannot locate the key. Early on, they are able to regroup and make progress, but the cost is great. Although many people with mild cognitive impairment go on to develop dementia, not everyone does, according to specialists. A change in lifestyle may be necessary to stop the mental decline.

In a 2019 study, it was discovered that individualised lifestyle treatments, such as diet, exercise, stress management, and sleep hygiene, not only reversed cognitive decline in adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, but also improved their memory and thinking over the course of 18 months.

A follow-up study discovered that women responded better than men. In a research published in February, it was discovered that one-third of women aged 75 or older with mild cognitive impairment had, at some point, stopped progressing toward dementia. However, all of the women had outstanding written language abilities, high levels of education and academic achievement, and what specialists refer to as “cognitive reserve.”

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Symptoms Of Dementia

According to the National Institutes of Health, dementia symptoms might vary from person to person and can include memory loss, confusion, trouble speaking, understanding and expressing concepts, or difficulties reading and writing. People who have dementia may behave impulsively or with poor judgement, and they may struggle to manage their money appropriately or pay their expenses.

They could ask the same questions repeatedly, refer to familiar objects using unfamiliar terminology, and take longer than normal to finish daily duties. Another indication of dementia is wandering and becoming lost in a familiar area, as well as losing interest in routine activities or events or acting as if they don’t care about other people’s feelings. They can get unbalanced or experience other difficulties moving.

Dementia patients occasionally hallucinate, have delusions, or become paranoid. Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most well-known cause of dementia, cognitive impairments can also result from vascular abnormalities that restrict blood flow to the brain or from ministrokes brought on by microscopic blood clots. The unusual form of frontal lobe dementia, which is thought to be accompanied by excessive levels of the proteins tau and TDP-43, frequently develops in adults under the age of 60.

Lewy bodies, aberrant deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, are suspected to be the origin of another type of degeneration known as Lewy body dementia. According to the NIH, a person who exhibits signs of dementia or cognitive impairment requires a thorough examination by a neurologist to identify the underlying cause.

Dementia can appear as a side effect of a variety of drugs, as well as from some illnesses like Huntington’s disease. The National Institutes of Health advise continuing appointments with medical professionals and thinking about requesting a referral to a memory clinic if you have recently received a diagnosis of dementia.

Consider participating in a research study by contacting the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in your area. The Alzheimer’s Association offers several levels of support for both patients and carers and includes thorough information on the distinctions between dementia and Alzheimer’s. Work to maintain good health; exercise improves mood, balance, and thinking, and a well-balanced diet and sufficient sleep can help the brain perform more effectively.

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