Poll: Many Adults Worried About Developing Dementia

But only 5 percent of respondents reported discussing prevention with doctor

THURSDAY, May 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Many adults are worried about developing dementia and about half report taking steps to maintain or improve memory, according to a report published by the National Poll on Healthy Aging.

Preeti Malani, M.D., from the National Poll on Healthy Aging team, and colleagues surveyed 1,028 adults aged 50 to 64 years about their memory, concerns about developing dementia, and participation in dementia research.

According to the report, 34 percent of adults rated their memory as good as when they were younger, while 59 and 7 percent said their memory was slightly worse and much worse, respectively. Forty-eight percent of respondents thought they were likely to develop dementia in their lifetime; their worry about developing dementia was similar to perceived likelihood. Overall, 73 percent reported engaging in at least one strategy to help maintain or improve memory, including doing crossword puzzles or other brain games, taking a vitamin or supplement, and taking fish oil or omega-3 (55, 48, and 32 percent, respectively). Only 5 percent reported having discussed ways to prevent dementia with their doctor. Most respondents (59 percent) reported willingness to provide a DNA sample for research on dementia genetics; 44 percent were willing to participate in research on prevention and treatment.

"While many people in this age range expressed concerns about losing memory, and say they take active steps to prevent it, most haven't sought advice from medical professionals, who could help them understand which steps actually have scientific evidence behind them," a geriatric psychiatrist who helped design the poll and analyze the results said in a statement. "Many people may not realize they could help preserve brain health by managing their blood pressure and blood sugar, getting more physical activity and better sleep, and stopping smoking."

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