New research unveiled at Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2022 (AAIC) in San Diego has found people who had encountered wide-ranging discrimination and experiences of racism displayed memory and cognitive problems in later life. The results of two studies suggest past discriminatory events experienced by people in ethnic minority communities can have long-lasting effects on the brain health of even the oldest in the population.
It’s been over two years since the Government promised to deliver the Dementia Moonshot, which would double dementia research funding to £166m a year over the next decade. But this funding is yet to be delivered, jeopardizing research like this as well as future breakthroughs in treating and one-day beating dementia.
Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said, “What’s shocking about these findings is that racism and discrimination don’t just have an immediate impact on people from ethnic minority communities, but can also lead to long-lasting effects on brain health, increasing the chance of memory and thinking problems developing later in life.”
“Of the 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK, 25,000 are from ethnic minority communities, so while these are American studies, it’s clear more also needs to be done to support these communities within the UK. Everyone deserves appropriate care when they face the immense challenges of dementia, but we know too many support services aren’t culturally aware, and we’ve heard from people in these communities that this is leaving them feeling unsupported and isolated.”
“There is an urgent need for research and investment into exploring the experiences of ethnic minority communities, to ensure the development of more culturally appropriate services and resources – but for research like this to happen, the Government must commit to their promise of doubling dementia research funding.”