Researchers studying the Remote indigenous populations in the Bolivian Amazon have found the communities experience meager rates of dementia. The new study follows on from prior findings reporting the same groups display almost no cases of age-related heart disease.The Tsimane are a unique population of around 17,000 people living in Remote areas of Bolivia. They have been the subject of much research over the past few decades due to their excellent health in older age.
In 2017 researchers from The Tsimane Health and Life History Project reported finding surprisingly low levels of vascular aging in Tsimane adults.A striking 85 percent of Tsimane adults showed no risk of heart disease. A study in The Lancet estimated an average 80-year-old Tsimane adult displayed the same vascular age as an American 25 years their junior. This new research on the Remote Amazon community focused on brain health and the prevalence of dementia.
The study examined 435 Tsimane adults, all over the age of 60. Using a local team of trained physicians and translators, the Tsimane participants completed a number of neurological assessments like CT brain scans, cognitive tests, etc. Only five cases of dementia were detected in the Tsimane cohort, equating to about one percent of the over-60 population studied.
This contrasts with around 11% of the equivalent American population known to be living with dementia. The researchers also examined 169 subjects from the Moseten, a genetically and linguistically similar community to the Tsimane. The Moseten displayed similar low levels of dementia despite living in closer proximity to modern Bolivian society.