African Americans are the most at risk for developing Alzheimer's, study finds


The subjects' average age was 58 and included 1,232 white Americans and 82 African Americans.

"Adversity is a clear contributor to racial disparities in cognitive ageing, and further study is imperative", said researcher on the study Megan Zuelsdorff. Treating hearing loss can make life easier for people living with dementia, but we don't yet know whether it could help reduce the risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer's in the first place. Wisconsin University's school of medicine and public health led a team of experts in the U.S. and found that even one major stressful event earlier in life may impact brain health later on.

"However, the findings do indicate that more should be done to support people from disadvantaged communities that are more likely to experience stressful life events".

The study looked at race specific infant mortality rates in 1928, specifically within the birth states with more than 6,200 members of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health system.

Stressful life experiences included things such as losing a job, the death of a child, divorce or growing up with a parent, who abused alcohol or drugs.

During the period that the research focused on ‒ between 1964 and 1973 ‒ the infant mortality rate of black people was almost twice as high as that of whites. Changes in verbal fluency may be a sign of very mild memory and thinking problems, such as those associated with dementia - these results suggest analyzing speech patterns could be a cheap and easy way to screen people at greatest risk for mental decline The Independent reported.

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African Americans born in those states had a 40 percent higher risk of dementia than black people who were born elsewhere.

Although the research could not establish any direct link between stress and an increased risk of dementia, stressful experiences are known to have an impact on brain function, which could then lead to dementia in the longer term.

"These studies were done with US data, but they add weight to the global body of evidence around disadvantage and dementia risk, which is an issue government around the world grapple with, and one that requires coordinated action", Maria Carrillo, Alzheimer's Association chief science officer, said in a statement.

The risk of dementia in women who reported reoccurring periods of stress in middle age was found to be 65 per cent higher than those who did not.

The researchers found evidence to suggest a link between hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment, a condition that can precede the onset of dementia.

"There is a growing realisation that events and experiences throughout life can impact the brain decades later". There are now about 16,000 Canadians under the age of 65 living with the disease.