A study carried out in the city of Tremembé, in São Paulo, recorded a high rate of dementia in the elderly population. This is one of the few researches on the disease in Latin America and also indicates that aging and education are risk factors.
Researcher and neurologist Karolina César-Freitas, a member of the Cognitive Neurology and Behavior Group at the Hospital das Clínicas, Faculty of Medicine of USP, says that the study follows a line of research started in 2012. A follow-up of about five years was carried out with elderly people who initially did not have dementia and then analyze the portion of this population that developed the condition.
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“The main risk factor was aging itself and education”, says Karolina to Jornal da USP in Ar 1st Edition. “The older you are and the lower the education, the greater the risk of dementia.” People who already had some type of cognitive impairment were also more likely to develop dementia.
The researcher explains that dementia is a term used for several conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. Among the symptoms are impairment of recent memory, temporal disorientation and language difficulties. “Many family members take a long time to seek medical help because they think that memory failure is normal in this age group,” he says.
The study also highlights preventive factors that apply to all age groups, such as encouraging education and physical activity, controlling hypertension and diabetes, avoiding alcohol abuse, good nutrition and cognitive stimuli. “These are changes in behavior, attitude and stimuli that make us have a healthier life and grow old with the healthiest brain possible”, emphasizes Karolina.
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