Less advantaged people run greater risk of dementia

Dhaka,  Thu,  21 September 2017
Published : 17 Jul 2017, 16:09:26
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Less advantaged people run greater risk of dementia

Stressful experiences such as being poor or becoming seriously ill age the brain more quickly, new research has found, indicating that less advantaged people run a greater risk of dementia.

The research, based on a series of studies in the US, may explain why African-Americans experience a much higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease than their white counterparts, reports a global media Monday.

It was presented to the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, which opened in London Sunday. “These studies...add weight to the global body of evidence around disadvantage and dementia risk, which is an issue governments around the world grapple with, and one that requires co-ordinated action,” said Maria Carrillo, chief scientist at the US-based Alzheimer’s Association.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin studied 1,320 people to assess the impact of highly stressful experiences such as having an abusive parent, being fired from a job, becoming seriously ill or going through a financial crisis. Such experiences were strongly associated with poorer memory and thinking skills in old age; each one was equivalent to about four years of cognitive ageing.

Black participants in the study suffered 60 per cent more stressful events than white counterparts of the same age with similar educational backgrounds and genetic susceptibility to the disease.

A second study by the University of Wisconsin found a strong link between an individual’s Alzheimer’s risk and the level of social and economic deprivation of the area in which he or she lived.

Statistics collected by the Alzheimer’s Association show that black Americans over the age of 65 are twice as likely to have dementia as their white counterparts. New research by the University of California, Irvine, shows that disparity continues into extreme old age.

- SZ
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