More and more younger adults get subjective cognitive decline, study finds

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According to a new study from the DB Consulting Group in Bethesda, subjective cognitive decline (SCD) affects 9.6% of adults aged 45 years and older.

SCD is a self-reported decline in cognitive functioning, such as memory, attention, or other cognitive abilities, which is noticeable to the individual but not yet apparent to others or through objective testing.

It is often considered a preclinical phase of cognitive impairment and may be a risk factor for developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia later in life.

SCD can be caused by a variety of factors, including aging, stress, depression, anxiety, and other medical conditions.

The study examined individual differences in SCD prevalence and healthcare professional conversations among those reporting SCD.

The researchers used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System collected between 2015 and 2020.

They found that SCD prevalence varied across racial and ethnic groups, with the highest prevalence observed among non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native adults (16.7%) and the lowest among Asian or Pacific Islander adults (5.0%).

Among all racial and ethnic groups, having a college education was linked to a lower prevalence of SCD.

The study also found that only 47.3% of those with SCD reported discussing their confusion or memory loss with a healthcare professional.

Women were more likely to talk with their healthcare provider than men, and adults with SCD symptoms were less likely to talk with a healthcare professional if they were aged 75 years or older, had less education, did not have health insurance, did not have a personal doctor, and had not visited a doctor in the past year.

The researchers suggest that the findings can help healthcare providers identify patients who may benefit from risk-reduction behaviors and cognitive assessment.

With the increasing prevalence of SCD, it is important for healthcare providers to be aware of the various factors that may affect SCD prevalence and seek to identify and manage SCD symptoms early on.

By doing so, they can help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about new drugs for incurable vascular dementia and high blood pressure that may lower the dementia risk for some old adults.

For more information about brain health, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and Omega-3 fats and carotenoid supplements could improve memory.

The study was conducted by Karen G. Wooten et al and published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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