MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Nearly half of adults aged 50 to 64 years believe they are at least somewhat likely to develop dementia, according to a study published online Nov. 15 in JAMA Neurology to coincide with the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, held from Nov. 13 to 17 in Austin, Texas.

Donovan T. Maust, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues explored how 1,019 adults aged 50 to 64 years estimated their lifetime risk for dementia and their use of risk-reducing strategies.

The researchers found that 48.5 percent of respondents reported that they were at least somewhat likely to develop dementia. Non-Hispanic black respondents had a significantly lower likelihood of believing they may develop dementia (adjusted odds ratio, 0.51). The likelihood of developing dementia was reported as higher for respondents who rated their physical or mental health as fair or poor (adjusted odds ratio, 2.30); likelihood was not perceived as higher for those with similarly rated physical health. Overall, 5.2 percent of respondents had discussed dementia prevention with their physician, while 31.6 and 39.2 percent endorsed using fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids and used other vitamins or supplements, respectively. Discussion with a physician was more common among respondents with a perceived higher versus lower likelihood of developing dementia (7.1 versus 3.6 percent).

“Adults in middle age may not accurately estimate their risk of developing dementia, which could lead to both overuse and underuse if preclinical dementia treatments become available,” the authors write.

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