|Vitamin A deficiency.|
The results of this study may help to explain why dementia rates have fallen by 25% from 2000 to 2012, from 11.6% to 8.8%. Falling poverty rates would have boosted the general nutritional and vitamin A status of each following generation. Even the West had higher rates of more extreme levels of poverty when the current elderly population were born. For example, my grandfather had to leave school at the age of eight to work - something you only see in Third World countries now, and this was 1920s/30s Australia. Where there are still high poverty rates, clinical vitamin A deficiency is still prevalent, but Alzheimer's is not the only issue. 250 million preschool children are vitamin A deficient; 250,000-500,000 children are blinded every year by the deficiency, often before dying; and it is a public health problem in around half of the world's countries. Fortunately, vitamin A supplementation can cut child mortality by a quarter, and cut measles mortality in half. Growing fruits and vegetables in home gardens has also improved the nutritional status of many. Eliminating poverty and the resulting nutrient deficiencies is creating many short and long-term benefits around the world. But while clinical vitamin A deficiency is rare in wealthy countries, you may have suboptimal levels, so consuming beta-carotene rich foods (such as carrots and pumpkin) or vitamin A-rich foods (ie beef liver or cod liver oil) may prevent cognitive decline later.