Dementia in Latin America: Assessing the present and envisioning the future

Mario Parra Rodriguez, Sandra Baez, Ricardo Allegri, Ricardo Nitrini, Francisco Lopera, Andrea Slachevsky, Nilton Custodio, David Lira, Olivier Piguet, Fiona Kumfor, David Huepe, Patricia Cogram, Thomas Bak, Facundo Manes, Agustín M. Ibáñez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


The demographic structure of Latin American countries (LAC) is fast approaching that of developing countries, and the predicted prevalence of dementia in the former already exceeds the latter. Dementia has been declared a global challenge, yet regions around the world show differences in both the nature and magnitude of such a challenge. This paper provides evidence and insights on barriers which, if overcome, would enable the harmonization of strategies to tackle the dementia challenge in LAC. First, we analyze the lack of available epidemiological data, the need for standardizing clinical practice and improving physicians’ training, and the existing barriers regarding resources, culture and stigmas. We discuss how these are preventing timely care and research. Regarding specific health actions, most LAC have minimal mental health facilities, do not have specific mental health policies, or budgets specific to dementia. In addition, local regulations may need consider the regional context when developing treatment and prevention strategies. The support needed nationally and internationally to enable a smooth and timely transition of LAC, to a position which integrates global strategies is highlighted. We focus on shared issues of poverty, cultural barriers, and socioeconomic vulnerability. We identify avenues for collaboration aimed to study unique populations, improve valid assessment methods, and generate opportunities for translational research, thus establishing a regional network. The issues identified here, point to future specific actions aimed at tackling the silent tsunami of dementia in LAC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-231
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Early online date5 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2018


  • assessment of dementia
  • diagnostic test assessment
  • all practice management


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