Despite an aging population, a number of recent studies indicate a stable or declining prevalence and incidence of dementia—findings that highlight the need for action “to address factors that determine both healthy and unhealthy aging” and that reduce inequities, says a new paper co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health researcher.
Writing in the journal Nature Reviews Neurology, a research team that includes Dr. Alexa Beiser, professor of biostatistics at BU, reviewed findings from 14 studies that investigated trends in dementia prevalence and incidence in the US and other countries. The review found that dementia is declining in some countries, and that the number of people with dementia can remain stable despite the population aging.
Identifying factors that contribute to these reductions, such as improvements in living conditions and better access to education and quality health care, should become a “major priority,” the authors say.
All five studies that examined trends in incidence suggest a decrease in the rate of dementia in the total population across different groups and time periods, the review says. Similarly, most of the nine population-based studies examining prevalence reported stable or declining rates over time.