Researchers: Longer life expectancy translates into higher dementia rates

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As people live longer, more and more individuals will reach the end of their lives with dementia and cognitive problems, British researchers say.

In a 10-year study of 13,000 men and women 65 and older, researchers at Cambridge University found that just 6% of people who died between the ages of 65 and 69 had dementia. However, 58% of those who were 95 or older when they died were mentally impaired.

Societies should begin planning now for ways of improving quality of life for sufferers of dementia, said researchers in the October issue of PLoS Medicine. They added that it is unlikely that medical science will find a way to completely prevent dementia and cognitive impairment among the very old.