Better ways to prevent and treat dementia

Better ways to prevent and treat dementia

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities so it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.

About 47 million people have dementia worldwide and that number is expected to climb as high as 66 million by 2030 and 115 million by 2050.

According to recent research, managing lifestyle factors such as hearing loss, smoking, hypertension, and depression could prevent one-third of the world’s dementia cases.

The study is Published in The Lancet.

It also highlights the beneficial effects of non-medication interventions such as social contact and exercise for people with dementia.

In the study, 24 international experts systematically reviewed existing research and provide evidence-based recommendations for treating and preventing dementia.

They identify 9 risk factors in early, mid- and late life that increases the risk of developing dementia.

About 35% of dementia — one in three cases — is attributable to these risk factors, the report says.

By increasing education in early life and addressing hearing loss, hypertension and obesity in midlife, the incidence of dementia could be reduced by as much as 20%, combined.

In late life, stopping smoking, treating depression, increasing physical activity, increasing social contact and managing diabetes could reduce the incidence of dementia by another 15%.

To treatment dementia, the team examined non-medication interventions for people with dementia.

They found that psychological, social and environmental interventions such as social contact and activities were better than antipsychotic medications for treating dementia-related agitation and aggression.

They concluded that the interventions had an important role in treatment, especially when trying to address agitation and aggression.

The commission also found that group cognitive stimulation therapy and exercise conferred some benefit in cognition as well.

The research report provides detailed recommendations in the areas of prevention, treating cognitive symptoms, individualizing dementia care, caring for caregivers, planning for the future following a dementia diagnosis, managing neuropsychiatric symptoms and considering the end of life.

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