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Cambridge Public Health


Existing systematic reviews of dementia primary prevention include almost exclusively evidence concerning individual-level interventions, and almost no evidence concerning population-level interventions.

This is the finding of a new rapid review written by Cambridge Public Health researchers and published in The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease. The review aimed to analyse the extent to which current research summaries of dementia primary prevention interventions include population-level interventions. Population-level interventions aim to change societal conditions, for example through structural or policy change. They have potential to achieve greater population health benefits than interventions that target individual-level behaviour change.

The review found that only a minority of reviews reported some population-level interventions representing a negligible amount (<2.5%) of the contributing evidence. These interventions predominantly related to increasing physical activity through mass media interventions to change socio-cultural norms. 

There is emerging recognition that primary prevention of dementia, and the associated evidence base, needs to consider population-level approaches. This is necessary if dementia prevention policies are to achieve meaningful reductions in the prevalence of, and inequalities in, dementia.

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