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Invited Commentary
January 2017

Dementia Trends in the United StatesRead Up and Weigh In

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison
  • 2Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison
  • 3Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison
  • 4Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(1):58-60. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7073

The “graying” of the United States and other industrialized nations has given rise to concerns about an exponential increase in the number of people with Alzheimer disease and other geriatric cognitive syndromes, collectively referred to as dementia.1 Recent estimates indicate that about 5 million older Americans are afflicted with a dementia, a number that is expected to triple by 2050 barring the development of effective therapeutics to prevent or slow cognitive deterioration.1 Governments worldwide have enacted policies that make the prevention and treatment of dementia a public health priority.2 Recent epidemiological studies have suggested, however, that the age-specific prevalence or incidence of dementia may actually be on the decline, and highlight potential modifiable factors, such as years of education and cardiovascular health, that may underlie this attenuation in risk.3

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