(CNN) – Dementia is a general term for a loss of memory or other mental abilities. Not just misplacing your keys, either it’s severe enough to interfere with daily life.
Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are the most common types, but new research indicates that rates of dementia are dropping in the U.S. according to research published in the health and retirement study.
21,000 people across the country participated in the survey. Researchers collected data from them every two years, starting in 1992.
Among the findings dementia rates in people over age 65 have fallen from 11.6 percent in 2000 to eight-point-eight percent in 2012.
That’s a decline of 24 percent and translates to about one million fewer Americans suffering from the condition
Scientists think the decrease is a result of rising educational levels among Americans’ and better heart health.
Both are closely related to brain health. Still, up to five million Americans currently suffer from dementia.
That number that is expected to triple by 2050, as people live longer and the elderly population increases.
Health and retirement study was partially funded by the national institutes of health and was published in JAMA internal medicine.
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