Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, making it difficult to fight off diseases, infections and certain cancers. HIV specifically attacks the body’s CD4+ cells, a type of T-cell that has a critical role in our adaptive immune system. When an unknown virus, bacteria, or pathogen enters the human body, CD4+ cells are required to stimulate the immune system in making the machinery to fight off the unknown intruder. Without CD4+ cells, it becomes difficult for the human body to regulate immune responses, increasing the risk of death from diseases and infections as common as the cold. When HIV destroys CD4+ cells, impairing the functionality of the immune system, this leads to the acquired.... Read More
California Governor Gavin Newsom in his State of the State address on February 12 spoke to the issue of the aging of the state’s population. “We need to get ready.… For the first time in our history, older Californians will outnumber young children.” In fact, California’s population of older adults is projected to increase by four million people by 2030. The state’s newly elected governor announced his commitment to establish a Master Plan for Aging to meet the needs of California’s.... Read More
Aging African Americans are hit with a double-whammy: health and financial troubles
February is full of things to celebrate. While Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to take care of our loved ones’ hearts, American Heart Month reminds us that it is also a time to focus on the health of our own hearts! And as we honor the leaders of the African diaspora during Black History Month, we also advocate for improvements in both society and in health that will enrich Black futures. Awareness of heart health is particularly important for Black and African American older adults because of environmental and genetic risk factors that cause poorer health outcomes.... Read More
African Americans Face Greater Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease Than Whites
by Rodney Brooks. This article originally appeared in USA TODAY.
A decade ago, Rushern Baker III started seeing signs that something was wrong with his wife when she was still in her late 40s. Christa Beverly was forgetting things and losing things. Then, she was hopelessly lost only blocks from her parents’ home.
It took some doing, but he convinced her to see a doctor. She was tested, and at age 49 was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. At the time, Baker was preparing to run for county executive in Prince Georges County, Md., which borders Washington, D.C., an election he won in 2010.
Within a few years of the diagnosis, Christa had lost most of her functions. Today, at age 58,.... Read More
Inadequate Data on Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
by Kayla Sawyer. This article originally appeared on the NICOA blog.
TRIGGER WARNING: If reading this post triggers past traumas, please see the resources listed at the end of this article for assistance.
There is a serious lack of meaningful government data documenting rates of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. A recent study by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) revealed that only 116 of the 5,712 cases of murdered or missing Native women were logged into the Department of Justice’s nationwide database.
U.S. attorneys’ offices declined to proceed with.... Read More
Precision Medicine Rejects “One-Size-Fits-All” Medicine and Creates Health Solutions that Meet the Needs of Diverse Elders
Clinical trials and health research are invaluable tools to advance individual and public health around the world, but the communities represented by the Diverse Elders Coalition – including American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and Latinos, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Transgender (LGBT) people – are often underrepresented in these initiatives. In fact, because of a lack of comprehensive, disaggregated data collection, participants may not be able to indicate their sexual orientation or gender identity, and no distinction may be made between South Indians,.... Read More
Even in the short term, not getting enough sleep can keep people from performing at their mental best, whether it be more complex executive functioning or problem-solving or memory. The experience is universal – we’ve all had it: “We have a bad night’s sleep, we’re hazy in the morning, we may not be as sharp as we usually are,” says Michael V. Vitiello, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and geriatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “We may have some lapses in memory or we don’t process information quite as well.”
What’s more, it’s well-known by researchers, clinicians.... Read More
Stigma around Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth-leading cause of death among Americans, is slowly eroding as the disease becomes more and more visible in our communities and in popular culture. Films such as “Still Alice” and Pixar’s “Coco” are helping the general public to learn about and have conversations about dementia.
Open discussions of their personal diagnoses from high-profile figures like former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, musician Glen Campbell and restaurateur B. Smith are putting a public face on the progressive brain disease. While awareness is increasing, there are still aspects of Alzheimer’s and its impacts on society that are largely.... Read More
To Eliminate Race Disparities in Diabetes, We Must Address Social Determinants of Health
In the United States, diabetes is most prevalent among Southerners and residents of Appalachian regions. Blacks are afflicted more than whites. Over a third of African American seniors are diagnosed as diabetic.
The prevalence of diabetes increases with age, Kelly Zimmerman, spokeswoman for Louisiana’s Department of Health, said last week. Adults ages 65 and older had the highest rate in the state last year at 26.1 percent. Diabetes among all of Louisiana’s adults 18 years and above was 13.6 percent. For the state’s African American adults of.... Read More
Black, Hispanic Elders Especially Susceptible to Dehydration
Elders are among those most vulnerable to dehydration, and African American and Hispanic adults are more likely to become dehydrated than whites, researchers have found.
In a review of health issues after the Gulf Coast’s hurricanes in 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pointed to the dangers of dehydration for older adults. People suffered from heat and a lack of potable water. After Katrina struck that August, dehydration took the lives of many local seniors in nursing homes, hospitals, shelters and their houses. Rita, Wilma and Dennis were other deadly Gulf hurricanes in 2005.
Beyond access to water, older people are vulnerable to dehydration for.... Read More