Background

Dementia reduces the ability to think and conduct day-to-day activities. It impacts not only the person who experiences it, but also those around them and society as a whole. Because of this global impact, it is important to find ways to reduce or delay dementia. A recent summary of the research showed this may be possible in up to 40% of the cases. It also identified 12 factors that play an important role and can be changed. These factors include: less education, hypertension, hearing difficulties, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, low social contact, alcohol use, traumatic brain injury, and air pollution.

Some people are more affected by these risk factors than others. People from minoritized ethnic groups are more affected by dementia risk factors. For example, people from a South Asian background are 2 to 6 times more likely to live with diabetes than the white British population. Projections of dementia also show an inequality in dementia risk. Namely, in the UK, the number of people from minority ethnic groups with dementia is expected to increase sevenfold by 2051, compared to a twofold increase in the white British population.

Despite these inequalities, minoritised ethnic groups have not been consistently engaged by researchers to take part in studies about dementia risk. Because of this, it is likely that there are knowledge gaps. There is also no summary of what we know about dementia risk factors for these groups.

Aim

Our work aims to improve dementia prevention for people from minoritised ethnic backgrounds. As a first step, we are focusing on exploring knowledge gaps and priorities related to dementia risk factors in minoritized ethnic groups.

Methods

To identify knowledge gaps and priorities we have been developing a scoping review of dementia risk factors in minoritised ethnic groups, and patient and public involvement activities (PPI) with people from minoritized ethnic groups and professionals.

In the scoping review we are asking the questions: (1) what dementia risk factors have been studied, (2) for which minority ethnic groups, and (3) how have they been studied?  We developed and registered a scoping review protocol which can be found here https://osf.io/3y9gc The findings of the scoping review will inform future research projects.

We obtained PPI funding from the Research Design Service of Yorkshire & Humber to support discussions about dementia risk and the modifiable risk factors for dementia with people from minoritized ethnic groups (African Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Ukrainian communities) and professionals working with these groups. This work is shaping the scoping review and future research projects.

Timescales

01/01/2023 – 31/12/2024

Funding agency

National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) – Yorkshire and Humber Applied Research  Collaboration

Further information

For further information contact:

Dr Magda Jordao  telephone: 01274 383406.

This independent research funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Yorkshire and Humber Applied Research Collaborations NIHR200166. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health and Care Research or the Department of Health and Social Care.