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, she.... 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

             

Aging-Related Sleep Problems and Memory Loss

by Michael O. Schroeder. This article originally appeared in the U.S. News & World Report.

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

             

Bringing Alzheimer’s Out of the Shadows

This article originally appeared in Aging Today, the bimonthly newspaper of the American Society on Aging.

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

by Susan Buchanan. This article originally appeared in the Louisiana Weekly.

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

by Susan Buchanan. This article originally appeared in the Louisiana Weekly.

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.

‘Extremely Dangerous’

Beyond access to water, older people are vulnerable to dehydration for.... Read More

             

Conquering Health Disparities Facing Older Hispanics

For far too many years, Hispanics across the country have been sidelined in critical medical research. As a result, our community is not taken into consideration in the creation of medical treatment programs that, for some, would be their best chance for survival. For a community that already faces a lower life expectancy, higher rates of diabetes and other critical health disparities when compared to their white peers, this reality is simply unacceptable.

Even worse is the lack of precise medical treatments for older Hispanic populations. As some of the most vulnerable members of our society, these individuals deserve equal access to treatment.... Read More

             

Eczema Symptoms Found to Be Worse for African Americans

by Ryan Whirty. This article originally appeared in The Louisiana Weekly.

All skin – and a particular skin disorder – is not the same, as a recent study into the effects and symptoms of eczema, a frustratingly itchy, often painful and potentially embarrassing affliction of the dermis, shows.

In a study published in September in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology – the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology – researchers examined the molecular differences between the skin of African Americans with atopic dermatitis (the formal name for eczema).... Read More

             

New Report Identifies Unique Challenges for LGBT Community Facing Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

LGBT and Dementia – a new issues brief developed by the Alzheimer’s Association and SAGE outlines the unique challenges facing LGBT older adults living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their caregivers. The brief outlines the unique issues that arise when Alzheimer’s disease, sexual orientation, and gender identification and expression intersect, allowing advocates and care providers to better meet the needs of LGBT elders and their caregivers facing dementia.

“Living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is not easy for anyone,” said Sam Fazio, Ph.D., director of quality care and psychosocial research, Alzheimer’s Association. “But LGBT individuals can often face additional challenges that need to be considered and addressed to ensure this population.... Read More

             

For Older Women, Domestic Abuse Often Isn’t Physical

by Jess Stonefield. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

“Well — he doesn’t hit me.”

It’s a phrase I hear when talking to older women through Humble Warrior, a free compassionate listening service aimed at providing support to those in distress. While the women recognize they are miserable in their marriages, they often believe that if they aren’t being hit, they have no legitimate reason to leave. Somewhere along the line, they’ve come to accept that emotional, verbal and financial abuse are just part of the marital package. To be honest — it’s hard to blame them.

Indeed, for many older women, domestic abuse is still a relatively new concept. The majority did not see physical.... Read More

             

The Challenge of Curbing Smoking in Native American Communities

by Kevyn Burger. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Mary Owl still remembers her first cigarette, puffed when she was 13 years old.

“I was never so high in my life,” recalled Owl, now 58. “I inhaled, got dizzy and then sick to my stomach.”

A tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Owl lit up the day she arrived at a boarding school in rural Oklahoma.

Away from home for the first time, the lonely teen was susceptible to peer pressure.

“I was in the bathroom with some girls I’d just met. They asked me if I smoked and I said, ‘sure,’” Owl said. “I went back to my dorm and.... Read More

             
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