Dementia diagnosis higher among black people compared with other ethnic groups

Black people have higher rates of dementia diagnosis compared to other ethnic groups, a new study suggests.

But people from Asian backgrounds are the least likely to be diagnosed with the condition, compared to patients who are black or white.

Researchers from University College London (UCL) and King’s College London compared incidence of dementia diagnosis from white, black, and Asian backgrounds in the first study to consider ethnic backgrounds.

They analysed data on more than 2.5 million people – including 66,083 who had a dementia diagnosis – from 645 GP practices across the UK between 2007 and 2015.

They found that compared to white women, the incidence of dementia diagnosis was 18% lower among Asian women and 25% higher among black women.

For men, incidence of dementia diagnosis was 28% higher among the black men, and 12% lower in Asian men, compared to white men, the study, published in the journal Clinical Epidemiology, found.

The researchers also compared the diagnosis rates to what could be expected for the different ethnic groups as predicted by prior research.

Despite higher diagnosis rates, the authors concluded that black men with dementia were still less likely to receive a diagnosis compared with white men.

Diagnosis rates between black and white women were found to be broadly comparable.

“What we found suggests that the rates of people receiving a diagnosis may be lower than the actual rates of dementia in certain groups, particularly among black men,” one of the authors, Dr Tra My Pham, from UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health, said.

“It is concerning that black people appear to be more at risk of dementia but less likely to receive a timely diagnosis.”

Commenting on the study, Dr Alison Evans (pictured), 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.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Dementia 2020 / Youtube.