A new analysis from the Framingham Heart Study shows that new cases of dementia may be decreasing. And when it does strike, it’s occurring later in life.
The data, collected from 1975 to present, shows a 20 percent decrease in dementia for each decade. This is surprising, since obesity, diabetes and the age of the population has increased.
However, the results of the study show a clearly positive trend.
The researchers divided the data into epochs—specific periods of time. The first epoch occurred from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.
When measuring data from this first epoch to the second (late 1980s to early 1990s), the incidence of dementia declined by 22 percent.
From the first to the third epoch (late 1990s to early 2000s) the decrease jumped to 38 percent. And by the fourth epoch (late 2000s to early 2010s) the reduction was an amazing 44 percent.
The decline was more pronounced with a subtype of dementia caused by vascular diseases, such as stroke. And interestingly, the decline was observed only in persons with high school education and above.
“Currently, there are no effective treatments to prevent or cure dementia; however, our study offers hope that some of the dementia cases might be preventable—or at least delayed—through primary (keep the disease process from starting) or secondary (keep it from progressing to clinically obvious dementia) prevention,” explained corresponding author Sudha Seshadri, MD.
Recent research from Rush University Medical Center shows that eating a group of specific foods known as the MIND diet may slow cognitive decline by as much as 7.5 years.
This style of eating is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. It consists of 15 dietary components. Ten of them fall into the “brain-healthy food group”. This group includes green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine.
To enjoy these foods properly, you should get at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day along with a glass of wine. It also involves snacking on nuts most days, eating beans every other day or so, fish once a week and enjoying poultry and berries at least twice a week.
There are also five unhealthy food groups. These consist of red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food. These foods need to be limited to have a real shot at avoiding the devastating effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s.