How implementing prevention strategies for dementia may save costs of £1.9 billion

Adhering to prevention strategies for reducing the risk of dementia could save an economy close to 2 billion euros annually, new research by the University of College London finds.

The findings, released in The Lancet Healthy Longevity, highlighted how targeting substance use, high blood pressure, and hearing problems could reduce dementia rates and lead to an enduring cost-effective outcome.

For the study, researchers scoured through PubMed and Web of Science from its origination up until March of 2020.

“We searched PubMed and Web of Science from inception to March 12, 2020, and included interventions that: successfully targeted any of nine prespecified potentially modifiable risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, hearing loss, obesity, physical inactivity, social isolation, depression, cigarette smoking, and less childhood education),” the UCL authors stated in their journal publication.

“We calculated dementia incidence reduction from annual incidence of dementia in people with each risk factor, and population attributable fraction for each risk, corrected for risk factor clustering, and how effectively the intervention controls the risk factor,” the authors also stated.

The study led to interventions with profound efficiency and if three of the interventions from their research were to be put into action, it would save the economy of the United Kingdom more than 1.8 billion annually.

“We found effective interventions for hypertension, smoking cessation, diabetes prevention, and hearing loss,” the co-authors explained in the publication.

“There is a strong case for implementing the three effective interventions on grounds of cost-effectiveness and quality-of-life gains, as well as for improvements in general health. The interventions have the potential to remain cost-saving or cost-effective even with variations in dementia incidence and costs and effectiveness of interventions.”

The study received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, as publically disclosed.

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