Approximately 47,849 people were living with dementia in Ireland in 2011. This number is expected to double by 2031 to about 90,000 as incident rates of dementia are set to rise with population ageing (Pierce et. al. 2014). Although much remains to be established at a causal level, epidemiological research indicates that there is scope for reducing dementia prevalence and age-specific incidence through addressing modifiable risk factors. There is a growing consensus for the mobilisation of public health approaches to attempt to reduce the prevalence of dementia through primary prevention.
This discussion paper presents a rapid review of evidence on the primary prevention of dementia and presents estimates for the number of dementia cases that could potentially be preventable through modifying specific risk factors in Ireland. The paper focuses only on primary prevention which relates to delaying or preventing the onset of dementia.
Specifically, the discussion paper presents:
- a rapid review of the current evidence-base on dementia prevention internationally
- estimates of the number of dementia cases that might be prevented by addressing modifiable risk factors
- considerations for integrating a brain health and dementia prevention perspective into public health research, policy and practice in Ireland.