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Dementia risk could depend on where you live

A Monash University study has found people who live in more affluent areas have superior memories and a lower risk of developing dementia, highlighting the need for better facilities in disadvantaged areas to promote healthy lifestyle habits and help curtail the growing burden of dementia.

The study analysed data collected between 2016 and 2020 from the longitudinal, population-based Healthy Brain Project from the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health incorporating 4656 participants aged between 40 and 70 years without dementia.

The study found that higher neighbourhood-level socio-economic status (n-SES) was associated with superior memory and lower dementia risk scores.

With dementia the second leading cause of death among Australians and up to 40 per cent of dementia cases potentially preventable, the study identifies that more research, resource and efforts are needed for the lower n-SES to have a preventive impact.

Dementia Australia says the term dementia is used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses that cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning. Dementia can happen to anybody but is more common after the age of 65 and there is no cure.

“With dementia predicted to cost Australia more than $18.7 billion in 2025, it is important that everyone has the same opportunity to take ownership of their health,” lead author Associate Professor Matthew Pase said.

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