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'Dementia could strike 1 in 3 born this year', claims report

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“One in three people born in the UK this year will suffer from some form of dementia in their lifetime,” Sky News reports. This is the stark finding of a report commissioned by Alzheimer’s Research UK and carried out by the private research institute the Office of Health Economics.

The report can be read here (PDF, 604kb).

What evidence did the report look at?

The report’s findings are based on the combination of two data sets. The first, by the Office of National Statistics, is a 2010 estimation of the likely life expectancy of children born during this decade.

The second, by the Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies, is an on-going study looking at the prevalence of dementia in an increasingly ageing population.

What were the findings of the report?

The report estimated that for all children born in this year:

  • 27% of males will develop dementia
  • 37% of females will develop dementia
  • in total, 32% of all people will develop dementia

Conclusion

The NHS has helped increase life expectancy by reducing the burden of chronic diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease through public health initiatives. However, this has led to an increase in age-related diseases, including dementia.

The findings of the report do make for sobering reading, though the estimates are based on the assumption that effective treatments, or even a cure, will not be discovered at some point in the future.

The field of dementia research is fast-moving, so there are cautious reasons for optimism.

While there are currently no guaranteed methods of preventing dementia, there are measures you can take to ensure you live as healthy a life as possible. These include doing regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, stopping smoking if you smoke, cutting your alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy weight.

Read more about dementia prevention

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