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Many Dutch people affected by brain disease

Half of all middle-aged Dutch women and one in three middle-aged men will suffer a stroke, dementia, or Parkinson’s at some point in the rest of their life. Men are more likely to get a stroke at a younger age, while women are more susceptible to dementia.


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These are the results of a study conducted by Erasmus MC based on the large scale ERGO population study in Rotterdam, published in the British Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry (JNNP).

Developments
“Unfortunately, a great many of these common neurological diseases can still not be easily prevented nor treated. Although much progress has been made in recent years in gaining a better understanding of the causes of these diseases, preventive and therapeutic developments lag behind when compared to other common diseases, such as cancer and heart diseases”, says research physician Silvan Licher of Erasmus MC’s department of Epidemiology.

An important follow-up question is how these figures would change if it were possible to delay the disease process. Arfan Ikram, Professor of Epidemiology says: “In our study this was simulated by shifting the moment of diagnosis backwards. We saw that the risk for someone to have a stroke, dementia, or Parkinson’s in their remaining life can then be reduced by 20% after the age of 45 to 50% after the age of 85. However, in our approach it is difficult to differentiate between delaying the process and a late diagnosis. Follow-up research is needed to unravel this carefully.”

Clinical pictures
Ikram: “This is the first time that the risk for incurable brain diseases has been analyzed. This study underlines the importance of investing in research on these clinical pictures. The Deltaplan Dementie (the Dutch national platform to address and manage the growing problem of dementia ) is a good start, but will not be enough to turn the tide. More research on strokes, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease is badly needed.”

For further information, see the press release.

Date published: 2 October 2018.

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