Prevention and management of dementia: a priority for public health

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The Lancet Commission on dementia published in October 2017  described dementia as the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century. A follow up editorial appeared in the Lancet and an extract follows:

‘Public health strategies targeting the main lifestyle, clinical and social risk factors identified in this Commission could reduce the incidence of dementia or substantially delay its onset. Naturally, prevention of all potentially modifiable cases of dementia will not be feasible but pushing back the age of dementia onset would bring enormous benefits: estimates suggest that even a delay in onset of one year could prevent more than 9 million cases of dementia by 2050 and delaying onset by 5 years could halve the prevalence of dementia globally.

The key messages in the Commission accord with those of the WHO Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia (2017 – 2025) endorsed at the 2017 World Health Assembly. We call on all governments to generate updated action plans for dementia, drawing on the latest evidence and incorporating awareness strategies and public health campaigns, to tackle the impending dementia crisis. The Lancet Commission will help inform the development and implementation of these strategies’.

Frankish, H. and R. Horton (2017) ‘ Prevention and management of dementia: a priority for public health.’ The Lancet  Volume 390 No. 10113 2614-2516.

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