From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.
From just forgetting something to the tragic decline of dementia, people commonly worry as they age about their ability to think. But a review of national data on people over age 70 indicates fewer of us need to worry.
Among seniors not in nursing homes, the rate of these cognitive impairments fell by 3.5 percentage points between 1993 and 2002, to 8.7 percent.
Researcher Kenneth Langa of the University of Michigan sees evidence that better education early in life, and better control of risk factors such as cholesterol and smoking, may help. He also says:
"Keeping your brain active in any way – and always – seems to be protective against these declines in brain health over time." (6 seconds)
The study in Alzheimer’s and Dementia was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Learn more at hhs.gov.
HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.
Last revised: May 7, 2011