Immune system role in Alzheimer's identified

Care and cure magazine - Summer 2015

Dementia care for people in south Asian communities could be improved after researchers adapted a commonly used tool for judging perceptions of the disease. 

Several studies have shown that knowledge of the causes, symptoms and consequences of dementia can be more limited among south Asian people in the UK. This can lead to problems in making a diagnosisand delivering the right treatment

To help understand why this is the case, researchers from the University of Manchester adapted a checklist that was previously designed to gather perceptions of mental illness from people with different cultural backgrounds. 

Through a review of previous work with south Asian communities and interviews with 25 people, the team developed a new tool which takes into account cultural sensitivities that can act as barriers to effective diagnosis and treatment. 

Professor David Challis, who led the research, said, 'South Asian people are, broadly, less likely to seek help for a mental health problem than members of other communities. In part this can be explained by a lack of culturally sensitive and linguistic clinical staff. 

'Using this toolkit could be a way of providing more evidence-based training for health workers and developing resources, such as leaflets that are attuned to this community's particular needs.' 

The toolkit is delivered as an interview with a participant who may have dementia. As the interview progresses, the researchers tick items off a checklist to give data about that person's perceptions of symptoms, causes, the consequences of illness and preferred treatment methods.