AARP Home » AARP Blog » AARP »Bulletin Today »The Takeaway: The Price of Dementia, Your Brain on B Vitamins, Poverty in the U.S.
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Dementia Nation: If dementia were a country, its economy would rank No. 18 in the world, according to a new report from Alzheimer’s Disease International. Wow. And yet not a country many of us would want to live in, I’d wager … The global cost of Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementia last year was $600 billion, or about 1 percent of the world’s domestic product, the ADI report notes, along with this whopping stat: Nearly three-quarters of people living with dementia have not been diagnosed. The tragedy of this is that early interventions can slow brain deterioration, but many are missing out.

“There are those beliefs out there that dementia is  just a natural part of aging, but it’s not,” said Dr. Sube Banerjee, who co-authored the report. “It’s a nasty, horrible illness. We can’t make it go away right now, but we can make life with it much better if they’re diagnosed early.”

There have actually been some exciting discoveries in the world of early Alzheimer’s interventions announced this week. One new treatment uses insulin in the form of a nasal spray, and showed promise for boosting memory in men and women with mild cognitive impairment, and mild- to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. 

Your Brain on B Vitamins: Another dementia treatment, announced by researchers at the British Science Festival, relies on high doses of B vitamins and folic acid. The vitamins reduced memory decline by 70 percent in the most at-risk patients, all of whom were 70+ and suffered from memory lapses and other forms of mild cognitive impairment, the UK Telegraph reports.

A lot of the time brain changes start in your forties and fifties before you get clinical symptoms,” said Dr Celeste de Jager of Oxford University, who led the trial. “I would think that in middle age people should start thinking about their vitamin levels.”

People should of course consult their docs before beginning any supplement regimen, de Jager adds.

Poverty Level Up For Everybody Except Older Adults: The poverty level in America is at its highest since 1993, the Census Bureau reports, with joblessness as the driving force. The poverty line in 2010 for a family of four was $22,113—a marker which 46.2 million people now live below. And median household income is down 7 percent from its peak in 1999, to $49,400. While poverty among people 65+ was statistically unchanged (at 9 percent), things are looking especially grim for the younger set. As those with ‘boomerang children’ can attest, the number of 25- to 34-year-olds living at home has gone up drastically (25 percent between 2007 and 2011).

Wednesday Quick Hits: The Big Three credit bureaus are beginning to compile consumer data (such as job history, income and net worth) that goes far beyond what’s included in traditional credit checks … Top 10 cars favored by older adults … Beginning next year, the government will finally allow 401(k) statements to be delivered electronically … After-dinner sleeping could raise stroke risk … What kind of country would we be without Social Security? … Why older women are turning to Dr. Oz for sex advice … And the global diabetes epidemic grows: 366 million people worldwide have the disease, health officials said yesterday.

See “In the News” for more on current events, entertainment and how it all relates to you.