A new study has found that one (1) in three (3) people born in 2015 will develop dementia sooner or later. British researchers stress the need for new treatments.
• Researchers explain what the symptoms of dementia are and why so many people develop the condition.
• How the researchers reached their predictions and what they mean for future generations.
• Researchers give update on the treatments that the scientific community is working on.
Many have said that the UK is already facing a dementia crisis as 850.000 people are already affected by the condition. It’s generally a soul crushing experience, not just for the patients, but also for their loved ones, who are forced to watch as someone they care about lose themselves.
Early symptoms of the condition may include having trouble concentrating and finding it hard to remember things, whereas later stages are known to affect a patient’s basic physical functions (walking or swallowing for instance).
Dr. Matthew Norton, head of policy for Alzheimer’s Research UK, gave a statement stressing the implications of the discovery. He said that “These figures underline a stark reality: as people are living longer, more and more people will develop dementia if action is not taken now to tackle the condition”.
He went on to add that the fact that “each generation is living longer than the last” is a wonderful thing. But he also mentioned how important it is to make sure that people are in good health so that they can enjoy the extra years that they have.
The analysis conducted by Dr. Norton and his colleagues took into account the life expectancy projections published by the Office for National Statistics, and showed that 27 percent (27%) of the boys born in 2015 will develop dementia later in life, and that 37 percent (37%) of the girls born in 2015 will develop dementia later in life.
Field experts agree that age is the main risk factor for dementia, followed by insufficient blood supply to the brain, since the blood vessels of dementia patients tend to either narrow or harden.
It’s important to note that the predictions made by the research team from Alzheimer’s Research UK were based on the current number of individuals who suffer from dementia and are age 60 or older. What this means is that the actual number or boys and girls born in 2015 who will eventually develop dementia may be even higher. This is because field experts inform that the number of dementia cases also grow from generation to generation.
Researchers have yet to find a cure for dementia, or a treatment that might slow down the onset of the condition. Many field experts are currently exploring the development of a drug that can target the troublesome proteins that studies link to Alzheimer’s disease.
The study authors say that the number of people suffering from dementia would drop dramatically if researchers were to find a treatment that slows down the onset of the condition. In fact, Dr. Norton informed that the number would reduce by a third.
The study has been well received by the scientific community. Mark Dallas, Alzheimer’s specialist from the University of Reading, he praises the researchers for highlighting just how many lives are affected by the condition, but also mentions that progress in treating it may come slowly as there are five (5) field experts researching cancer for every one (1) field expert researching dementia.
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