A new study has shown that more and more older people are suffering from cognitive decline and in just 10 years the cases of older people with cognitive decline has doubled.
Researchers were investigating to see if there had been an increase in the numbers of older people who were reporting their first concerns about memory loss or cognitive decline to their doctor and what their chances of developing dementia were after consultation. The findings are published in Clinical Epidemiology.
Researchers looked at data from more than 1.3m adults aged between 65 and 99 years old*, taken between 2009 and the end of 2018. The researchers identified 55,941 adults who had spoken to their GP about memory concerns and 14,869 people who had a record of cognitive decline.
For every 1,000 people that were observed for one year in 2009, there was one new case of cognitive decline being recorded. By 2018, for every 1,000 people that were observed for one year, there were three new cases of cognitive decline being recorded.
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.
The authors note one potential limitation of the present study is the potential variations in which GPs record memory concerns and memory decline. They also say more research is needed to better understand the discrepancy between rates of memory symptoms and cognitive decline in the general population and those recorded in primary care.