A widespread myth is that once a person reaches 80 and is mentally healthy, they are likely to die without mental incapacitation. The new results clearly show that this is not the case.
The researchers followed a representative population of aged people over several years to estimate the risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia near the end of life, and to determine whether factors such as education and social class, which may appear protective earlier in life, can ultimately prevent decline in mental functioning.
Using standardized assessments of cognitive status, the researchers interviewed people age 65 and over at six sites representing rural and urban areas in the UK. Interviews were conducted at regular intervals over 10 years. Of approximately 12,000 study participants who had died by the time of this report, just over 2,500 had an assessment for dementia within one year before dying. Of this group, those who died between ages 65 and 69 had a 6% chance of dying with dementia, and those who died above age 95 had a 58% chance of dying with dementia. When moderate or severe cognitive impairment were included, the rate in people above age 95 reached almost 80%. Women were more likely to develop dementia than men, even after taking into account the fact that women tend to live longer than men. A higher level of education was associated with only a slightly lower risk of dementia before death.
As Willem van Gool (Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam) states in an accompanying Perspective, despite the sobering nature of these data, there is room for slightly more hopeful interpretations that take into account the age of onset or duration of dementia rather than the absolute numbers. While many elderly people indeed wonder how likely it is that they will “lose their mind” before they die, if preventative measures manage to delay the onset of dementia, they would still yield enormous benefits. To prove that preventative measures work, however, will not be an easy task, and societies with aging populations should be prepared for large numbers of elderly patients with dementia.
Citation: Brayne C, Gao L, Dewey M, Matthews FE, Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study Investigators (2006) Dementia before death in ageing societies—The promise of prevention and the reality. PLoS Med 3(9): e397
Andrew Hyde | alfa
Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.
Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy