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Measures to prevent dementia 'cost-effective'

Wednesday October 21st 2020

Interventions for preventing dementia in England could be cost-effective, saving over a billion pounds per year, and could significantly reduce dementia rates, according to a new analysis.

A team from University College London, UK, looked at the potential economic value of a range of interventions to prevent late-onset dementia.

They examined previous studies of nine potentially modifiable risk factors. Results were published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity yesterday (20 October).

“We found effective interventions for hypertension, smoking cessation, diabetes prevention and hearing loss,” they write.

“Treatments for stopping smoking and provision of hearing aids reduced cost. Treatment of hypertension was cost-effective by reference to standard UK thresholds.”

They calculate that these three interventions, when fully implemented, would save £1.9bn annually in England and reduce dementia rate by 8.5%.

However, they found that the intervention for diabetes was unlikely to be cost-effective in terms of its impact on dementia.

They state: “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.”

Lead author Dr Naaheed Mukadam said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that dementia can be prevented in many cases by addressing various health factors throughout the lifespan. There is an urgent need to develop evidence-based interventions to prevent dementia or delay it to enable more years of healthy life.

“Here, we have found that dementia prevention strategies can be cost effective and cost saving and should be implemented to reduce the societal burden of dementia.”

Mukadam, N. et al. Effective interventions for potentially modifiable risk factors for late-onset dementia: a costs and cost-effectiveness modelling study. The Lancet Healthy Longevity 20 October 2020; doi: 10.1016/S2666-7568(20)30004-0

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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