Addressing Dementia Risk

A recent article in the Washington Post notes that up to one-third of the world’s dementia cases could be prevented by addressing factors such as education, hypertension, diet, hearing loss and depression over the course of a person’s lifetime. The article stems from the recent publication of a new report presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London this month.

It states that around 47 million people have dementia worldwide, and that number is projected to triple by 2050. The global cost of dementia in 2015 was estimated to be $818 billion, a figure also expected to rise with the number of cases.

The report, by the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care,  identifies nine risk factors over a person’s life span, including years of education before age 15; hypertension, hearing loss and obesity in middle age; and smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation and diabetes in late life. The Lancet team considered each factor separately and also looked at how they related to one another to calculate how much modification of each could potentially affect a person’s dementia risk.