Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Seven seconds to dementia

Yes, every seventh second a new case of dementia develops in the world. reports this from a just published report in The Lancet. Such a number pinpoints the necessity of finding viable solutions to fight degenerative brain disorders. Such an effort must work on many levels; devising new and improved methods for detecting dementia as early as possible; slowing the progression of the disease; finding treatments that halt or even repair neural damage; improving the healthcare of patients suffering from dementing disorders. Approaches are numerous, but we still know little about the mechanisms behind each type of dementia - and there are more than 100 known causes!

With increasing mean age across the world, and with the proportion of elderly growing in the coming years, much effort should be put into the research into neurodegenerative disorders.

Globally, New Dementia Case Arises Every 7 Seconds

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Dec 16 - Findings from a review of published studies suggest that every 7 seconds a new case of dementia occurs somewhere in the world.

"We believe that the detailed estimates in this paper constitute the best currently available basis for policymaking, planning, and allocation of health and welfare resources," lead author Dr. Cleusa P. Ferri, from King's College London, and colleagues note.

The researchers used the Delphi consensus method to estimate the global prevalence of dementia. With this method, quantitative estimates are derived through the qualitative assessment of evidence, according to the report in the December 17/24/31st issue of The Lancet. In the present study, 12 international experts used data from published studies to estimate the prevalence of dementia in every World Health Organization world region.

Roughly 24.3 million people currently have dementia and 4.6 million new cases arise every year, the authors state.

A doubling of the prevalence will occur every 20 years, so that by 2040, about 81 million people will have dementia. However, this increase is not uniform; in certain countries, such as China and India, the prevalence will more than double in the next few decades.

The report indicates that the majority of people with dementia, 60%, live in developing countries. By 2040, this percentage will have increased to 71%.

"Primary prevention (of dementia) should focus on targets suggested by current evidence; risk factors for vascular disease, including hypertension, smoking, type 2 diabetes, and hyperlipidemia," the authors state. "The epidemic of smoking in developing countries and the high rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes in Asia are particular causes of concern."

Lancet 2005;366:2112-2117.


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