The Good News About the Global Epidemic of Dementia

Eric B. Larson, M.D., M.P.H., executive director of Group Health Research Institute and Group Health’s vice president for research, co-authored an article in the New England Journal of Medicine with good news about dementia. Several recent studies show how age-adjusted rates in aging populations have declined for people born later in the last century, particularly in older people most likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2008, Drs. Larson and Kenneth M. Langa, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan and VA Healthcare System, reported one of the first studies suggesting a decline in U.S. dementia rates. They found that the decline tracked with education, income and improvements in health care and lifestyle. Since then, several studies in Europe have confirmed this trend and the reasons behind it.