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Old 07-15-2014, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,431 posts, read 9,186,341 times
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An American over age 60 today has a 44 percent lower chance of developing dementia than a similar-aged person did roughly 30 years ago, the longest study of these trends in the U.S. concluded.
Dementia rates also are down in Germany, a study there found.
"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, said Dr. Kenneth Langa. He is a University of Michigan expert on aging who discussed the studies Tuesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen.

The federally funded Framingham study tracked new dementia cases among several thousand people 60 and older in five-year periods starting in 1978, 1989, 1996 and 2006. Compared with the first period, new cases were 22 percent lower in the second one, 38 percent lower in the third and 44 percent lower in the fourth one.
The average age at which dementia was diagnosed also rose from 80 during the first period to 85 in the last one.
During that time, there were declines in smoking, heart disease and strokes, factors linked to dementia, and a rise in the number of people using blood pressure medicines and getting a high school diploma, which reduce the likelihood of developing the condition

Study: US Alzheimer's rate seems to be dropping

Yea!
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:22 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,562,476 times
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Interesting! This is an issue that resonates with me, especially as I'll turn 68 in less than a month and am creeping into the "danger zone." But the real reason I find it compelling is because of the ex and mother of my children of all things. She's only 63 and has been institutionalized for dementia since 2008 or '09. Early on set dementia hit her at age 48 evidenced by her oft repeated, "I'm confused. I don't understand" when the children were trying to help get her affairs in order following the death of her second husband due to a car accident.

Now, she no longer recognizes the children and can't pick herself out and recognize herself in pictures with them. Sadly, she's been a burden to all of them and to us as well as her funds dwindled and her care costs arose. My wife and I have chipped-in several times to ease the pressure on my middle daughter who was granted guardianship of her and has had to handle her financial affairs. None of the other four children wanted a thing to do with her but they also agreed to help out their sister as we did. Thankfully, her funds were finally drawn-down. A month ago she became eligible for Medicaid and my daughter was able to get her placed in a facility that accepts it.

I offer all this as an example of how this condition can strike early and without warning and to encourage everyone to plan for that eventuality as best they can whether for themselves or for aging, or even not so aging, parents. It's decidedly a game-changer.

Thanks for posting this!
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,431 posts, read 9,186,341 times
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Early onset Alzheimer's is not really the same disease as regular Alzheimer's. Unlike regular Alz. It has a known cause-genetic-and tends to run in families. You can be tested for it. Also unlike regular Alzheimer's, there is nothing one can do lifestyle wise to prevent or reduce a person's chances of developing early onset Alzheimer's.

Early-onset Alzheimer's: When symptoms begin before 65 - Mayo Clinic

Last edited by Mr5150; 07-15-2014 at 10:26 AM..
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Old 07-15-2014, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
Early onset Alzheimer's is not really the same disease as regular Alzheimer's. Unlike regular Alz. It has a known cause-genetic-and tends to run in families. You can be tested for it. Also unlike regular Alzheimer's, there is nothing one can do lifestyle wise to prevent or reduce a person's chances of developing early onset Alzheimer's.

Early-onset Alzheimer's: When symptoms begin before 65 - Mayo Clinic
You are correct about early onset Alzheimer's, which is relatively rare.

Nevertheless, there is a very strong genetic component to Late Onset Alzheimer's. To date, there is NO evidence that lifestyle changes PREVENT Alzheimer's and very little evidence that lifestyle changes can reduce one's risk. So far, higher education and engaging in occupations requiring a higher level of critical thinking skills appear to push back the onset of Alzheimer's up to nine years. That comforts me to a certain degree because not only do I have a familial risk, I carry one copy of the major genetic marker (APOE4) for Late Onset Alzheimer's and several of the minor genetic markers associated with Late Onset Alzheimer's.

However, I also don't engage in magical thinking. At this time, the only way one can prevent Late Onset Alzheimer's is to die.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:30 PM
 
2,429 posts, read 3,236,215 times
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My 88-year-old mom has been diagnosed with dementia with a working/presumed diagnosis of Alzheimer's

It doesn't "run in my family" -- she was one of 11 children. -- and oddly enough the mostly highly education by a LONG shot.
She has a PhD, was a teacher and a minister. So you'd THINK her mental skills/acuity would have 'helped' her avoid this. She was constantly writing lesson plans and sermons, making presentations, etc. And she's always done multiple crossword puzzles and seek-and-find puzzles. (And who knows? DID all that delay her illness. She didn't show signs until age 80.)

Since age 75, she has had one (maybe 2) very minor mimi ischemic strokes. No physical lasting effects. But I do think that mentally her skills never recovered. Now, I'd guess she's at mid stage 'Alzheimer's' -- confusion, confabulation, etc.

But I'm also starting to wonder COULD what she has really indeed BE A-D -- or could it be something else?

I know urinary infections can cause AD/dementia-like symptoms -- but surely after YEARS it couldn't be that.
Then I saw great PBS medical mystery type show called "Second Opinion" and it had an episode on "Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus" which causes dementia/Parkinson's-like symptoms. Given that mom's doctors are at one of the best hospitals in the country, with an NIH treatment/study center -- I guess I should be confident they've ruled everything else out. But sometimes I ask myself -- what' if it ISN"T AD, could something else be causing her cognitive decline? Not that high achieving PhD's don'g get AD.....but....but what? I don't know.

Anyway, my presumption is that dementia/AD diagnosis are going to be MORE prevalent, not less. For my sake -- just in case I AM looking at my future...I'm glad it IS an illness lots of specialists are working hard to treat/cure. Thank goodness for THAT, at least.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
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According to a recent "60 mins" show dementia is not decreasing, but increasing because of the average age is increasing. The article in the OP say's that it "maybe decreasing", to me that just means that they are just guessing.

The "60 Mins" news show also said that the older you get the chances of getting dementia increases dramatically. If I remember it correctly, 50% of everyone that reaches age 80 will have some form of dementia. They also found something very interesting, of the 80 year old's that have had an MRI and proved that they had dementia the people that did not have the symptoms had high blood pressure and the people that had normal and low blood pressure had full blown dementia. The doctor said that so far the test were showing that high blood pressure could protect you from the disease.
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,431 posts, read 9,186,341 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lenora View Post
You are correct about early onset Alzheimer's, which is relatively rare.

Nevertheless, there is a very strong genetic component to Late Onset Alzheimer's. To date, there is NO evidence that lifestyle changes PREVENT Alzheimer's and very little evidence that lifestyle changes can reduce one's risk. So far, higher education and engaging in occupations requiring a higher level of critical thinking skills appear to push back the onset of Alzheimer's up to nine years. That comforts me to a certain degree because not only do I have a familial risk, I carry one copy of the major genetic marker (APOE4) for Late Onset Alzheimer's and several of the minor genetic markers associated with Late Onset Alzheimer's.

However, I also don't engage in magical thinking. At this time, the only way one can prevent Late Onset Alzheimer's is to die.
Consider this: BBC News - One in three Alzheimer's cases preventable, says research

The evidence is quite strong that lifestyle choices do affect one's chance of getting Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's disease Risk factors - Diseases and Conditions - Mayo Clinic

Lifestyle Changes May Prevent Alzheimer's
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:27 AM
 
13,357 posts, read 25,639,183 times
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I think maybe the fact that so many people quit smoking or never smoked might have something to do with decreasing rates of old-age onset dementia. Anything that cuts the rates is a good thing!
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
1,888 posts, read 2,310,381 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
I think maybe the fact that so many people quit smoking or never smoked might have something to do with decreasing rates of old-age onset dementia. Anything that cuts the rates is a good thing!
I need to add that ALL of the women in my family have gotten dementia at the end of their lives and not one of them has ever smoked or had diabetes, yet not one of the men in my family has ever gotten dementia and they have all smoked, and drank, none were diabetics.
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,747 posts, read 4,232,794 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
Clearly you have not read any of the articles cited. The first and third articles relate to the same study, but to make my point I will quote the relevant part from the third article:

The major limitation of the study was the central assumption that the seven risk factors in the analysis cause Alzheimer's, which has not been proven. <snip> Ronald Peterson, MD, director of the Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says, "Assuming each risk factor is causal, and we don't know that, only that there is an association, the point [of the study] is well taken.

Your second article:
Lifestyle and heart health

There's no lifestyle factor that's been conclusively shown to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease.
However, some evidence suggests that the same factors that put you at risk of heart disease also may increase the chance that you'll develop Alzheimer's.
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