Societies around the world are concerned about dementia and the other forms of cognitive impairment that affect many older adults. We now know that brain changes typically begin years before people show symptoms, which suggests a window of opportunity to prevent or delay the onset of these conditions. Emerging evidence that the prevalence of dementia is declining in high-income countries offers hope that public health interventions will be effective in preventing or delaying cognitive impairments. Until recently, the research and clinical communities have focused primarily on understanding and treating these conditions after they have developed. Thus, the evidence base on how to prevent or delay these conditions has been limited at best, despite the many claims of success made in popular media and advertising. Today, however, a growing body of prevention research is emerging.
Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward assesses the current state of knowledge on interventions to prevent cognitive decline and dementia, and informs future research in this area. This report provides recommendations of appropriate content for inclusion in public health messages from the National Institute on Aging.