Dementia is becoming more prevalent among the elderly in the United States, according to the first nationally representative study of cognitive impairment in more than 20 years. According to a study published Monday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, dementia affects one in every ten Americans aged 65 and older, with the rate being much higher for black and Hispanic people.
By taking into account factors such as age, education, ethnicity, gender, and race, the research was able to calculate the prevalence of dementia and moderate cognitive impairment.
Another 22% of participants in the study, which was conducted by academics from the University of Michigan and Columbia University, had mild cognitive impairment.
According to CNN, the results showed older adults who self-identified as black or African American were more likely to have dementia, while those who identified as Hispanic were more likely to suffer from mild cognitive impairment. People who had less than a high school education were more likely to have both conditions.
Lead study author Dr Jennifer Manly said in a statement, “Dementia research in general has largely focused on college-educated people who are racialized as white.”
Dr Manly, a neuropsychology professor at Columbia University’s Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center and Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, further said, “This study is representative of the population of older adults and includes groups that have been historically excluded from dementia research but are at higher risk of developing cognitive impairment because of structural racism and income inequality,”.
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