by David Kekich

Conventional wisdom dictates that if you live to age 85, you’ll have a 50% chance of having Alzheimer’s by then. And I believed that until now.

You’ve probably see articles and reports from time-to-time that project high medical costs to take care of the increasing numbers of the aged, especially the ever-increasing costs to take care of the millions of projected new Alzheimer’s patients. I saw projections extending to 2050 and beyond.

None of these projections takes into account the exponential rate of growth of medical and aging technologies. Most people assume things will be pretty much the same in the future as they are now. I always discount these kind of projections extending decades in the future as pure nonsense, because they completely ignore the emerging technologies and their impact on turning the tide against dementia and other aging, medical and non-medical challenges facing mankind.

brain powerBut that’s tomorrow, and this is today. And I just got some exciting news. A new study shows that the dementia problems facing us TODAY are not as gloomy as advertised. And it should get better, not worse. In other words, your chances of getting Alzheimer’s as you age are not as severe as we thought, even without new advances.

As published in a new Bloomberg article, “When it comes to brain power, 90 may be the new 80.”

The article notes that those surviving past the age of 90 today are living longer and are mentally sharper than people in their 90s born a decade earlier. This was reported by Danish researchers.

Here are some excerpts from the article: “People born in 1915 were almost a third more likely to reach 95 than those born a decade earlier and on average they performed better on mental tests and in daily living tasks, according to a study published {today} in The Lancet.”

“The findings are the latest in a small but growing body of evidence that suggest improved nutrition, vaccinations, health care and intellectual stimulation are leading to a better quality of life for the elderly. Among the most intriguing findings of the Danish study is the notion that, should the trend continue, the care needs of very elderly people may be less than now anticipated.”

“There’s a fear that getting older means many years of living in bad shape with a rather gloomy outlook,” Kaare Christensen, the lead study researcher from the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark, said in an interview. “I’m looking forward to living longer than 90 myself after this study.”

Mental Agility

“In the Danish study, stronger, sharper mental agility among today’s 90 year-olds was marked compared with the earlier group. That’s significant because improved cognition at very old age goes against expectations there will be a sharp rise in dementia among people over 80, Marcel Olde Rikkert and Rene Melis of Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in Nijmegen, Netherlands, wrote in a commentary about the study.

Using the Danish Civil Register System to identify subjects, researchers surveyed 2,262 people born in Denmark in 1905 who were still living in 1998 and 1,584 Danes born in 1915 who were still alive in 2010, at ages of about 93 and 95, respectively.

Researchers used physical and mental tests as well as interviews to measure mental impairment, depression and ability to perform daily tasks. While the two groups were about the same in terms of physical strength, those in the 1915 group had a better “daily living score,” which was based on being able to walk around the house, get upstairs or live alone.

Even after adjusting for education levels, the 1915 group performed better on cognitive tests and had twice the rate of perfect scores.

The Danish study is the most conclusive evidence yet that the elderly may be in better health than ever.”

age longerMoreover, the chance of surviving from birth to age 93 years was 28% higher in the 1915 group than in the 1905 group, and the chance of reaching 95 years was 32% higher in 1915 group. 

Keep your mind sharp. Mental and physical exercise, a sensible diet and the other steps in Brain Health and Memory Kit may save your brain


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