is the VOA Special English Development Report.
new study says the leading cause of disability in older people in low and
middle income countries is dementia. The researchers disagree with the World
Health Organization which says blindness and other vision problems are the
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Dementia is a loss of intellectual ability
that affects memory, learning, attention, thinking and language skills. People
with dementia may forget family members or not know what day it is. Sometimes
they become angry or sad, hear voices, or see things that are not there.
Sousa from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London and other
researchers wrote the new report. Their study looked at the causes of
disability among fifteen thousand people age sixty-five or older in seven
countries. The countries were China, India, Cuba, the Dominican Republic,
Venezuela, Mexico and Peru.
The team found that dementia was
the largest cause of disability in the elderly in areas other than rural India
and Venezuela. Other major causes were stroke, loss of use of arms or legs,
arthritis, depression, eyesight problems and gastrointestinal problems.
low and middle income countries, heart disease and cancer get much of the
attention given to chronic diseases. The researchers say increased importance
should be given to chronic diseases of the brain and mind. As populations age,
societies will have to deal with more and more cases of dementia.
The study says the elderly are nine
percent of the total population of low and middle income countries today. But
their numbers are growing quickly. They are expected to reach twenty percent of
the total population by the middle of the century.
study appeared in the Lancet medical journal which published a special issue on
disability. A separate study of eighteen low and middle income countries dealt
found that in almost half the countries, children who were not breastfed were much
more likely to have a disability than those who were. The same was true of
those who did not receive vitamin A supplements and those who were underweight.
Children who did
not take part in early learning activities or attend school were also more
likely to be disabled than those who did.
Researchers at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States and UNICEF did the study.
that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by June Simms. I'm