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Ethnic Differences In Dementia Diagnosis In The UK

Alzheimers-Research-UK-logoA new study led by researchers from University College London has looked at difference in dementia diagnosis rates among different ethnic groups in the UK. The paper, published Wednesday 8 August 2018 in the journal Clinical Epidemiology, suggests that black men and women are more likely develop dementia than their white counterparts.

Dr Alison Evans, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“The report suggests that black men and women in the UK may face the combined impact of a greater likelihood of developing dementia, while being less likely to receive a formal diagnosis, which opens the door to care and support. We must continue to support research into the factors that underlie differences in dementia risk between different ethnic groups to ensure tailored and effective approaches to promoting good brain health into later life.

“The majority of health records available for researchers to examine in this study did not contain information about people’s ethnicity. Of the 28,000 people for whom information about ethnicity was available, only 315 were black, making it hard to draw reliable conclusions and highlighting the difficulties researchers face in studying this important issue.

“It is vital that all groups of people have access to diagnosis, care and support, as well as the best possible information about how to reduce the risk of dementia. Current evidence suggests that there are things we can all do to help maintain a healthy brain as we age. Not smoking, only drinking in moderation, staying mentally and physically active and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol have all been linked to a lower risk of dementia.”

Dr. Julia Botsford, Consultant Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK:

“This report chimes with other evidence from the UK, mainly that people from BAME communities are continuing to under access dementia diagnostic services and are more likely to be in crisis when they do. This means that they and their families are missing out on early practical and emotional support to help them with challenges in the present, as well as making plans for the future.

National and local dementia awareness raising campaigns targeting BAME communities are needed but are not the only answer. Services must ensure that the advice and support they provide can meet specific cultural needs where present, and are accessible to all sectors of the community. Specialist dementia nurses, Admiral Nurses, can play a fundamental part in this approach as they offer tailored support and advice to each family they work with.

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