Blackfriars Consensus proposes preventative approach to dementia risk

Posted on Fri 23 May 2014

Blackfriars Consensus proposes preventative approach to dementia risk
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Dementia specialists from policy, public health, research and voluntary and community backgrounds have pledged their commitment to the "Blackfriars Consensus", a statement which proposes a more preventative approach to curbing the widespread development of dementia.  The report acknowledges increasing research to emphasise the role of liftstyle factors in the development of some forms of dementia, for example, vascular dementia.  Highlighting the success of previous public health campaigns, such as those linking tobacco use to lung cancer, the coalition suggest that interventions to address risk factors (such as tobacco, poor diet, physical inactivity and alcohol) could help curb intermediate disease precursors such as raised blood pressure, raised blood cholesterol, obesity and diabetes, and in turn limit the risk and severity of dementia.

The report also highlights the importance of existing health inequalities, both as increasing the existence of risk factors for dementia, but also as a factor which must be taken into account with any public health strategies- interventions must seek to include vulnerable or excluded groups to reduce the risk that these groups are excluded from their benefits.

This is particularly critical for black and minority ethnic groups.  Evidence from our recent briefing suggests that many communities have been excluded from the existing Dementia Strategy.  Not only is there evidence that some black and minority ethnic groups are at increased risk of dementia, but barriers such as stigma, limited awareness of services and a lack of culturally appropriate care have limited access to diagnosis and treatment.