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Dementia risk dropped in UK

The chance of developing dementia with age has dropped in the UK, research suggests. 

A smaller number of older people living in Britain have the condition than experts predicted, a study published in the Lancet has shown. 

Researchers compared dementia rates in people born 20 years apart in three areas of England. 

Experts had predicted that 8% of over 65s would have dementia in 2011, but researchers found the figure was actually just over 6%. 

This would mean there are 214,000 fewer cases of dementia than predicted, meaning there are 670,000 people with dementia in the UK, rather than 800,000 to 900,000 as experts currently cite. 

Co-researcher Professor Tony Arthur, from the University of East Anglia, said: "When you compared the two cohorts born 20 years apart you see that dementia prevalence has gone down.

"This could be because known risk factors for dementia are on the decline."

He said there had been improvements in managing cardiovascular disease, which has been linked to an increased risk of dementia.

"More people are spending more time in education as well which might be protective," he added.

The full study is available to view on the Lancet website

The results are part of the MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing Study of more than 15,000 older people.