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Amazonian indigenous groups have world’s lowest rate of dementia


Lack of contact with the outside world and an active lifestyle could play a role in why indigenous groups in the remote Amazon of Bolivia have some of the lowest rates of dementia in the world.

What to know

  • Only about 1% of members of the Tsimane and Moseten peoples of the Bolivian Amazon suffer from dementia, compared with 11% of people aged 65 and older in the United States.
  • Underscoring the profound relationship between lifestyle and cognitive health, something about the preindustrial subsistence lifestyle of the groups appears to protect older tribe members from dementia.
  • The rate of generally accepted as typical in aging is comparable between the tribes and rates in developed countries such as the United States.
  • The Tsimane and Moseten people remain very physically active throughout their lives by fishing, hunting, and farming and experience less brain atrophy than their American and European peers.
  • Indigenous populations elsewhere in the world have been found to have high rates of dementia, which are attributed to more contact with their nonindigenous neighbors and adoption of their lifestyles.

--From staff reports

This is a summary of the article, “Study: Some of the world’s lowest rates of dementia found in Amazonian indigenous groups,” published by Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, on March 9, 2022. The full article can be found on

A version of this article first appeared on

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