The study, made by researchers from the University of Cambridge, analyses the rate of occurrence of neurodegenerative brain diseases in several countries considered of sporting a high quality of life – such as Sweden, Netherlands, Spain and Great Britain, over the last twenty years. The number of people who already had mental diseases was then compared to the one of new occurring case each year.
Despite fears that Alzheimer’s and dementia are becoming more and more prevalent due to the population’s average age growing, as these are more prevalent at old age. But the study finds that there was not much going for that theory, as dementia rates have either stayed almost the same or even decreased in the studied countries.
The interesting evolution though is that particular age groups which showed a prowess for dementia in the past have had the disease occur more rarely than before, but as they have become “younger” on the average population age scale, older groups have taken on their statistics and thus dementia rates overall have remained nearly the same.
A possible reason for this would be exactly the high quality of life displayed by the countries involved in the study, which are also at the forefront of medical innovation in the domain. This comes to contradict the fears of a dementia outburst, which some were expecting to happen in countries which are becoming heavily aged.
However, specialists are still pointing out that this doesn’t mean mental diseases don’t remain an issue, especially for the high costs involved in taking care of sufferers and the fact that those afflicted most of the times have no chance of recovery.
“While this study is welcome in showing that the percentage of people in particular age groups developing dementia could be getting smaller, the overall number of people with dementia is still set to increase as more people live into their 80s and 90s,” said Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Britain’s Alzheimer’s Society.
And population ageing will, at some point, raise the numbers of dementia sufferers. It’s only that it will happen slowly, giving government time to adjust to the reality and possibly medical advances to even find out a cure.
Image Source: cam.ac.uk