In Ten Years, Cases of Cognitive Deterioration in Older Persons has more than Doubled

Cases of cognitive decline in older adults have more than doubled in the last ten years, with a doctor assessing someone after worries about memory and noting that their brain function has been impacted.

The researchers wanted to know if there had been an increase in the number of older persons who went to their doctor with their first concerns about memory loss or cognitive decline, and what their risks of acquiring dementia were following consultation.

The study, published in Clinical Epidemiology, examined data from more than 1.3 million persons aged 65 to 99 from 2009 through the end of 2018. The researchers identified 55,941 persons who had visited their primary care physician concerning memory problems and 14,869 people who had a history of cognitive impairment.

In 2009, one new case of cognitive deterioration was identified for every 1,000 persons who were monitored for a year. By 2018, three new cases of cognitive deterioration were being identified for every 1,000 adults who had been followed for a year.

People who have been noted in their health records as having concerns about their memory are at just under 50% chance of developing dementia within the next three years.

Professor Kate Walters

Lead author and PhD candidate Brendan Hallam (UCL Epidemiology & Health Care) said: “This is an important study which sheds new light on how prevalent memory concerns and cognitive decline are among the older generation in the UK and how likely these symptoms might progress to a dementia diagnosis.

“The study found that, while rates of memory concern remained consistent, the incidence of cognitive decline, which is a step beyond memory concern, more than doubled between 2009 and 2018. In the last decade, there has been a push to encourage people to seek help from their doctors sooner if they are concerned about their memory, and we discovered that among those over 80, women and people living in more deprived areas were more likely to have a record of memory concern or cognitive decline, and their symptoms were more likely to progress to dementia diagnosis.”

The study also showed that within three years of following up a person from the date when the doctor reported a memory concern, 46% of people would go on to develop dementia. For people with cognitive decline, 52% would go on to develop dementia.

Cases of cognitive decline in older people more than double in ten years

Co-author, Professor Kate Walters (UCL Epidemiology & Health Care) explained: “People who have been noted in their health records as having concerns about their memory are at just under 50% chance of developing dementia within the next three years.”

Brendan Hallam added elaborated “Memory problems and cognitive decline are not only classic dementia symptoms, but they also signal a high probability of getting dementia. It is critical for GPs to recognize persons with memory problems as soon as possible in order to provide recommendations to improve memory and enable for the timely diagnosis of dementia.”

Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) is defined as self-reported worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss. It is a type of cognitive impairment and one of the first indications of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. SCD can have an impact on how you live with and manage chronic disease, as well as how you conduct regular tasks like cooking and cleaning. Because SCD is self-reported, it does not imply a professional diagnosis of cognitive decline.

Cognition is a set of brain activities that includes the ability to learn, remember, and make decisions. When one’s cognition is damaged, it can have a significant influence on one’s general health and well-being. Mild cognitive impairment to dementia, a sort of decline in abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life, are examples of cognitive decline. The most frequent type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

One potential drawback of the current study, according to the authors, is the potential difference in how GPs record memory issues and memory deterioration. They also believe that further research is needed to better understand the disparity in rates of memory problems and cognitive impairment between the general population and those documented in primary care.

Topic : Article