Dementia Is On the Wane . . . But Maybe Not For Long

Bernd Thissen/DPA via ZUMA

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A new study says that dementia has been on the wane for multiple decades:

The risk for a person to develop dementia over a lifetime is now 13 percent lower than it was in 2010. Incidence rates at every age have steadily declined over the past quarter-century….In 1995, a 75-year-old man had about a 25 percent chance of developing dementia in his remaining lifetime. Now that man’s chance declined to 18 percent, said Dr. Albert Hofman, chairman of the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and the lead author of the new paper.

But wait:

In a reversal of trends, American baby boomers scored lower on a test of cognitive functioning than did members of previous generations, according to a new nationwide study.

Findings showed that average cognition scores of adults aged 50 and older increased from generation to generation, beginning with the greatest generation (born 1890-1923) and peaking among war babies (born 1942-1947). Scores began to decline in the early baby boomers (born 1948-1953) and decreased further in the mid baby boomers (born 1954-1959).
While the prevalence of dementia has declined recently in the United States, these results suggest those trends may reverse in the coming decades, according to study author Hui Zheng, professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

Trust the boomers to screw things up. On the other hand, this might be the result of juvenile lead poisoning, and that’s the fault of the Greatest Generation. Greatest indeed.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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