Dementia prevention, intervention, and care

The Lancet, July 2017

Dementia is the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century: around 50 million people worldwide have dementia and this number is predicted to triple by 2050. The Lancet Commission on dementia aims to review the best available evidence and produce recommendations on how to best manage, or even prevent, the dementia epidemic.

Dementia is not an inevitable consequence of ageing and the Commission identifies nine potentially modifiable health and lifestyle factors from different phases of life that, if eliminated, might prevent dementia. Although therapies are currently not available to modify the underlying disease process, the Commission outlines pharmacological and social interventions that are able to help manage the manifestations of dementia.

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Temporal trend in dementia incidence since 2002 and projections for prevalence in England and Wales to 2040: modelling study

BMJ 2017;358:j2856

This modelling study aims to forecast dementia prevalence with a dynamic modelling approach that integrates calendar trends in dementia incidence with those for mortality and cardiovascular disease.  Age specific dementia incidence is declining. The number of people with dementia in England and Wales is likely to increase by 57% from 2016 to 2040. This increase is mainly driven by improved life expectancy.

Click here to view the full text paper.

Physical activity, cognitive decline, and risk of dementia: 28 year follow-up of Whitehall II cohort study

BMJ 2017;357:j2709

This prospective cohort study aims to test the hypotheses that physical activity in midlife is not associated with a reduced risk of dementia and that the preclinical phase of dementia is characterised by a decline in physical activity.  The study finds no evidence of a neuroprotective effect of physical activity. Previous findings showing a lower risk of dementia in physically active people may be attributable to reverse causation—that is, due to a decline in physical activity levels in the preclinical phase of dementia.

Click here to view the full text article.  This paper is Open Access.

Age & Dementia Friendly Gymnastics Programme: An Evaluation of the British Gymnastics Foundation Pilot

British Gymnastics Foundation, May 2017

This report evaluates the pilot of a gymnastics chair-based exercise programme developed for older people with dementia.  The pilot found that the programme was shown to have a demonstrable benefit in the physical, emotional and cognitive aspects of older people.

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Turning up the volume: unheard voices of people with dementia

Alzheimer’s Society, May 2017

This report reveals that nearly half of the UK adults surveyed had not started saving for the care and support they might need in the future, and a third agreed that before being asked, they had not considered the cost of dementia care and support. It also reveals that there is ongoing stigma around dementia and calls for greater support and access to information so that people with dementia can live fulfilled lives.

Click here to view the full report.