A mixed bag of news in the battle with Alheimers and other dementias.

A new study has found that while the United States and other rich countries are making strides in the fight against the diseases, an older population may be negating some of that accomplishment.

Cases of dementia down in the United States despite increase in aging population

MSN.com is reporting today that those over the age of 60 in this country are today 44% less likely to develop dementia as compared to 30 years ago.

"For an individual, the actual risk of dementia seems to have declined," said Dr. Kenneth Langa, a University of Michigan expert on aging.  Langa made his comments Tuesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen.

Langa believes the decline may be attibuted to more education and control of health factors.  Countries where the same has lagged showed higher rates of dementia.

The study, said to be the longest of such trends in the country, shows that nearly five and a half million Americans have Alzheimer's--the most common form of dementia.  It has no cure and drugs can only ease the symptoms.

The study also found the average age at which a person was diagnosed also rose slightly.

But with the elderly population growing in this country, due to medical advances that have prolonged lives, the percent of those affected by some type of dementia has risen as well.

The hope, according to study leader, Claudia Satizabal of Boston University, is that education will lead to a cure or onset later in life.  The epidemiology chief at the National Institute on Aging agreed.

"Getting the disease in your 80s or 90s is a very different than getting it in your early 70s," said Dallas Anderson.

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