- January 19, 2017
- Posted by: Alice Reiter Feld
- Category: Elder Law Blog
The percentage of older Americans that have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia has dropped by almost one-fourth, from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% as of 2012, according to a new study in the medical journal JAMA Int ernal Medicine.
That’s a big change from previous research, which claimed that aging baby boomers would cause the number of Alzheimer’s patients to triple by the year 2050. The statistic suggest that something is responsible for this shift, and that by pinpointing that cause, doctors may be able to further reduce dementia rates.
One factor that the team credits for these findings is an increase in education level among US adults during the past 25 years – in fact, they noted, the average education level increased from 11.8 years in 2000 to 12.7 in 2012.
The research, the study authors explained, “supports the notion that ‘cognitive reserve’ resulting from early life and lifelong education and cognitive stimulation may be a real strategy for the prevention of dementia in both high- and low-income countries around the world.”
Education can produce greater cognitive reserve, which means that individuals have built up enough back-up neurons and synapses that losing some due to Alzheimer’s disease does not necessarily mean that they will wind up having full-blown dementia.
Don’t get too excited. These are preliminary tests and there is likely many causes for this change but they are interesting.
At the Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve been minimizing risks and solving problems for South Florida families for 33 years. We practice Elder Law – and only Elder Law. And we’ve designed pretty much every type of estate plan you can imagine for our families…along with using estate planning tools such as wills and asset protection, and assistance with long-term care planning, Medicaid, and the VA.