Dramatic rise in dementia numbers in Sweden

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Dramatic rise in dementia numbers in Sweden

Every second Swede is at risk of developing dementia, according to a new study from Umeå University, which concentrated on the 85+ population in northern Sweden.


“Over five or seven years, the number of dementia cases grew by 40 percent,” said Yngve Gustafson, Professor of Geriatrics at Umeå University, to Sveriges Television (SVT).

In the project, called ‘The Gerda Study’, scientists carried out a re-testing and re-evaluation of ten year old preliminary tests, carried out by the university, and led by project leader Martin Gustafson.

The findings led researchers to conclude that the risk of developing dementia has soared in Sweden in recent years, and that the numbers are still rising.

The results also showed, somewhat surprisingly according to researchers, that coronary surgery also increases the risk of developing dementia.

The scientists noted that this is due to the increase in heart surgery today compared to the early 2000s.

Martin Gustafson stressed that these results shine a new light on previous statistics, and call for a closer look into pre-considered notions of dementia causes in Sweden.

“For these numbers to make sense, we must re-evaluate earlier prognoses. Previous calculations over the number of people with dementia seem absolutely out of accordance,” he said to TT news agency.

The study will be completed at the end of the summer; however, the results so far indicate a steep increase in both dementia and depression in the over-85 age group, according to the scientists.

The tests were carried out on elderly residents of Västerbotten county, in northern Sweden, and Österbotten in Finland.


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