The administration of President Joe Biden now claims that racism is a contributing factor in the disproportionately high rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among non-white Americans.
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In its yearly report (read below) on managing Alzheimer’s and related dementias, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated this week that “entrenched systemic racism” must be addressed and given priority above individual behaviors. To address discrepancies in Alzheimer’s disease rates, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra called for “interventions,” adapting government initiatives “with cultural competence and equity as the primary focuses.”
Racism-based “structural inequities,” such as underinvestment in education, unwalkable neighborhoods, and inadequate access to nutritional meals, are a “important cause” of dementia disparities, according to HHS. Black people are around twice as likely as whites to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia, whereas Hispanics are roughly 1.5 times as probable.
Age, family history, and genetics are the main risk factors for contracting a dementia-related illness, according to the Alzheimer’s Association of Chicago. Having a heart condition or suffering from head injuries might also raise your chances. A good diet, regular exercise, social engagement, and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco use can all help older people lower their chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The non-profit organization, in contrast to the Biden administration, has not discovered a connection between Alzheimer’s and racism. “The reason for these differences is not well understood, but researchers believe that higher rates of vascular disease in these groups may also put them at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s,” the association said.
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According to the HHS report, discrepancies in risk factors are “grounded in generations of structural racism and inequality.” To make matters worse, non-white Alzheimer’s patients have reduced accessibility to medical care and resources and are less likely than whites to receive correct diagnosis and treatment, according to the department.
“It is therefore of critical importance that research, interventions and infrastructure to address modifiable risk factors…are culturally responsive and grounded in improving equity by addressing the social determinants of health,” the report said.
According to HHS, upwards of 6 million Americans experience Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to rise to 13 million by 2060 due to the country’s aging population. The disease gradually deteriorates brain function, resulting in cognitive impairment as well as behavioral and mental disorders.
Alzheimer’s like brain damage caused by the COVID vaccine may be more prevalent than brain damage caused by naturally acquired virus, according to a a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Read the annual report below: