UK study: Dementia rates significantly lower than forecasted–especially for men–highlighting the protective role of lifestyle and education

-- Incidence rate of dementia per 1,000 person years in CFAS I and CFAS II by age at baseline interview. Natural scale. Source: Study below

– Inci­dence rate of demen­tia per 1,000 per­son years in CFAS I (con­duct­ed in the 90s) and CFAS II (just fin­ished) by age at base­line inter­view. Nat­ur­al scale. Source: Study ref­er­enced below.

Drop in demen­tia rates sug­gests dis­ease can be pre­vent­ed, researchers say (The Guardian):

In the UK, demen­tia has fall­en by a fifth over the past 20 years, pos­si­bly down to lifestyle and edu­ca­tion changes, high­light­ing ben­e­fits of pre­ven­ta­tive action…

A team from three British uni­ver­si­ties con­clud­ed that as a result the num­ber of new cas­es of demen­tia is low­er than had been pre­dict­ed in the 1990s, esti­mat­ed at around 210,000 a year in the UK as opposed to 250,000…The find­ings are poten­tial­ly sig­nif­i­cant because they sug­gest that it is pos­si­ble to take pre­ven­ta­tive action, such as stop­ping smok­ing and reduc­ing cho­les­terol, that could help avoid the condition.

Nick Fox, pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­o­gy at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege, Lon­don, who was not involved in the study, agrees: “This does sug­gest that our risk, in any par­tic­u­lar age in lat­er life, can be reduced prob­a­bly by what we do 10, 20 or 30 years before.”

The trend emerges from a dra­mat­ic drop in new cas­es for men across all age groups. In the 1990s study, for every 1,000 men aged 70–74, 12.9 went on to devel­op demen­tia with­in a year. In the sec­ond study, 20 years lat­er, that fig­ure had dropped to only 8.7 men. For men aged 65–69 the rate of new cas­es had more than halved between the two studies…The sit­u­a­tion for women was more com­plex: while those aged 80–84 showed a small increase in rates between the two stud­ies, there was a slight drop for oth­er age groups.”

To learn more:


Study: A two decade demen­tia inci­dence com­par­i­son from the Cog­ni­tive Func­tion and Age­ing Stud­ies I and II (Nature Communications)

  • Abstract: Dra­mat­ic glob­al increas­es in future num­bers of peo­ple with demen­tia have been pre­dict­ed. No mul­ti­cen­tre pop­u­la­tion-based study pow­ered to detect changes over time has report­ed demen­tia inci­dence. MRC Cog­ni­tive Func­tion and Age­ing Study (CFAS) under­took base­line inter­views in pop­u­la­tions aged 65+ years in Eng­land and Wales (1989–1994). Three areas (CFAS I) were select­ed for new sam­pling two decades lat­er (2008–2011) with same geo­graph­i­cal bound­aries, sam­pling and approach meth­ods (CFAS II). At 2 years CFAS I inter­viewed 5,156 (76% response) with 5,288 inter­viewed in CFAS II (74% response). Here we report a 20% drop in inci­dence (95% CI: 0–40%), dri­ven by a reduc­tion in men across all ages above 65. In the UK we esti­mate 209,600 new demen­tia cas­es per year. This study was unique­ly designed to test for dif­fer­ences across geog­ra­phy and time. A reduc­tion of age-spe­cif­ic inci­dence means that the num­bers of peo­ple esti­mat­ed to devel­op demen­tia in any year has remained rel­a­tive­ly stable.

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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