Tuesday, July 19, 2022
You may be thinking to yourself, what does that have to do with elder law? Well, read this article from the New York Times, New Dementia Prevention Method May Be Behavioral, Not Prescribed. Here's the crux of the article: "[p]ublic health experts and researchers argue that it is past time to turn our attention to a different approach — focusing on eliminating a dozen or so already known risk factors, like untreated high blood pressure, hearing loss and smoking, rather than on an exorbitantly priced, whiz-bang new drug." So now, about getting your eyes checked....
The latest modifiable risk factor was identified in a study of vision impairment in the United States that was published recently in JAMA Neurology. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, the researchers estimated that about 62 percent of current dementia cases could have been prevented across risk factors and that 1.8 percent — about 100,000 cases — could have been prevented through healthy vision.
What other risk factors should we conside?
The influential Lancet Commission began leading the modifiable risk factor movement in 2017. A panel of doctors, epidemiologists and public health experts reviewed and analyzed hundreds of high-quality studies to identify nine risk factors accounting for much of the world’s dementia: high blood pressure, lower education levels, impaired hearing, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes and low levels of social contact.
In 2020, the commission added three more: excessive alcohol consumption, traumatic brain injuries and air pollution. The commission calculated that 40 percent of dementia cases worldwide could theoretically be prevented or delayed if those factors were eliminated.
So let me add to my initial question: when was the last time you had you had your vision and hearing checked? No time like the present...