Sir Jackie Stewart: Bringing the Formula One mentality to dementia research – ‘the establi

Fitness & Health:

Sir Jackie Stewart is in a race. Not a race for a Formula One world title, but a race to save his wife. In 2014, Helen Stewart, Jackie Stewart’s wife of 60 years and a person who has been a key part of his title successes, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. Just as it does for every single family, dementia is devastating the Stewart family.

However, it has also galvanised Sir Jackie Stewart to find a cure for a condition that is slowly taking the life of the one he and his family hold so dear.

Race Against Dementia is the charity he set up to fight a disease that one in three people born today will be diagnosed with, and for which there is no cure.

“The establishment has failed,” said Stewart in our interview.


So, with that, Stewart is taking a new approach, he is bringing the Formula One mentality to dementia research.

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Just as Formula One teams work with money, talent, and a sense of urgency, so too is Race Against Dementia working with money, talent, and a sense of urgency.

And it is this sense of urgency that Stewart states is lacking when it comes to dementia; his charity is fighting dementia “in a fashion and a speed that doesn’t exist in the medical world”.

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This is down in part to Race Against Dementia, and Stewart’s strategy.

To attack dementia not just with money, but with youth.


Why more focus hasn’t been brought onto dementia is another topic discussed with the three-time world champion.

It could be because dementia, unlike COVID-19, is not an immediate threat to the planet.

The data says one in three people born today will develop dementia, but everyone can get COVID-19 with Stewart saying of Covid is a “global issue”. Stewart elaborated: “Suddenly there’s been considerably more put into that financially, within the industry of health.”

This is the reason why so many resources have been pumped into vaccines and treatments.

In contrast dementia has been, says Stewart, “a sleeper”, in that the population have accepted it as part of getting old rather than realising it is a disease, and therefore one that can be cured.

This is part of Stewart’s mission, to raise awareness of dementia so that more money can be raised so that lives can be saved because in forty years plus of trying, he adds “the medical world have failed to find a cure for dementia”.

At the end of the day, as well as being part of global cause, this is part of a personal battle, as Stewart observed: “I see my wife depreciating in so many different ways.”

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With this mentality and this drive fuelling the talented scientists working with Race Against Dementia, the time when dementia is treatable may be just around the corner.

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