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Trends in dementia diagnosis rates in UK ethnic groups: analysis of UK primary care data

Authors Pham TM, Petersen I, Walters K, Raine R, Manthorpe J, Mukadam N, Cooper C

Received 27 September 2017

Accepted for publication 6 May 2018

Published 8 August 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 949—960


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Vera Ehrenstein

Tra My Pham,1 Irene Petersen,1,2 Kate Walters,1 Rosalind Raine,3 Jill Manthorpe,4 Naaheed Mukadam,5 Claudia Cooper5

1Department of Primary Care and Population Health, University College London, London, UK; 2Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; 3Department of Applied Health Research, University College London, London, UK; 4Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London, London, UK; 5Division of Psychiatry, University College London, London, UK

Objectives: We compared incidence of dementia diagnosis by white, black, and Asian ethnic groups and estimated the proportion of UK white and black people developing dementia in 2015 who had a diagnosis for the first time in a UK-wide study.
Methods: We analyzed primary care electronic health records from The Health Improvement Network database between 2007 and 2015 and compared incidence of dementia diagnosis to dementia incidence from community cohort studies. The study sample comprised of 2,511,681 individuals aged 50–105 years who did not have a dementia diagnosis prior to the start of follow-up.
Results: A total of 66,083 individuals had a dementia diagnosis (4.87/1,000 person-years at risk, 95% CI 4.83–4.90); this incidence increased from 3.75 to 5.65/1,000 person-years at risk between 2007 and 2015. Compared with white women, the incidence of dementia diagnosis was 18% lower among Asian women (adjusted incidence rate ratio (IRR) 0.82, 95% CI 0.72–0.95) and 25% higher among black women (IRR 1.25, 95% CI 1.07–1.46). For men, incidence of dementia diagnosis was 28% higher in the black ethnic group (IRR 1.28, 95% CI 1.08–1.50) and 12% lower in the Asian ethnic group (IRR 0.88, 95% CI 0.76–1.01) relative to the white ethnic group. Based on diagnosis incidence in The Health Improvement Network data and projections of incidence from community cohort studies, we estimated that 42% of black men developing dementia in 2015 were diagnosed compared with 53% of white men.
Conclusion: People from the black ethnic group had a higher incidence of dementia diagnosis and those from the Asian ethnic group had lower incidence compared with the white ethnic group. We estimated that black men developing dementia were less likely than white men to have a diagnosis of dementia, indicating that the increased risk of dementia diagnosis reported in the black ethnic group might underestimate the higher risk of dementia in this group. It is unclear whether the lower incidence of dementia diagnosis in the Asian ethnic group reflects lower community incidence or underdiagnosis. A cohort study to determine this is needed.

Keywords: dementia, ethnicity, primary care, electronic health records

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