It’s a wretched disease that many fear they will one day end up with, but while previous studies have shown rising numbers in dementia cases experts in America say they have proven otherwise.
A new study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal claims to have proven a decrease in dementia diagnosis’ between 2000 and 2012.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan who say there’s been an absolute decrease of 2.8 percent and a relative decrease of 24 percent in the disease in over 65s.
They say the drop in numbers directly correlates to how much education a person received, saying those who spent more years at school, university or studying were less likely to fall victim.
They said even one year more of schooling could make all the difference.
The dramatic effect is thought to have directly influenced the declining trend either by having an effect on the brain by improving cognitive function, or through an awareness of positive health behaviour, such as exercise and diet.
Doctors have long been preaching the benefits of brain exercises, like crosswords and puzzles, to reduce the risk dementia and it seems this latest study proves it.
The researchers wrote in their paper that while education appeared to make a big difference, the full reason for why dementia numbers were dropping were still unknown.
“However, the full set of social, behavioural and medical factors contributing to the decline in dementia prevalence is still uncertain,” they wrote.
“Continued monitoring of trends in dementia incidence and prevalence will be important for better gauging the full future societal impact of dementia as the number of older adults increases in the decades ahead, as well as clarifying potential protective and risk factors for cognitive decline.”
Dementia is the second biggest killer in Australia, leading many over 60s to worry about their brain health as they age.
Experts recommend keeping an active mind and body to help ward of the disease and say people should keep an eye on ageing parents who may be starting to show symptoms.