Lack of access to high-quality education at an early age; Being overweight during early adulthood; According to new research, two or more cardiovascular health risk factors in hypertension, diabetes, and adolescence, 20 and midlife were associated with cognitive issues and dementia.
Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer Maria Carrillo said all those risk factors are likely to affect people of color with low incomes.
“We’ve known for a long time that African Americans are twice as likely, and Latino’s are one-and-a-half times more likely than their White counterparts to have Alzheimer’s or related dementia,” she told CNN.
“But what we’ve found in these studies is that those risks in adolescence mean that they actually live with you over time,” she continued.
“This is an important point to uncover, especially right now, when we are thinking about the comorbidities (risk factors) that people are most affected by the Kovid-19 virus.”
Obesity and disease in youth
Two studies have shown that for those with high body-mass index (BMI) or risk factors for cardiovascular diseases at risk of dementia in the teens and later 20s.
An analysis was conducted on data from more than 700 African Americans in adolescence, young adulthood, and midlife and found that cardiac conditions such as hypertension and diabetes were associated with significantly worse late-onset cognition. This was true even after adjusting for age, gender, and education.
From adolescence through adulthood, African Americans typically have a greater risk of heart disease risk factors than other racial and moral groups. The study notes that instead of targeting risk factors in the middle-aged black community, there is a need to initiate preventive interventions in adolescents.
The second study analyzed body mass index (BMI) risk of men and women participating in two national longitudinal studies of over 5,000 men and women over the age of 20.
In women, being overweight (having a BMI of 25 or more) at the age of 20 increased the risk of dementia by 1.8 times. When body weight climbed to 30 BMI or more, which is clinically obese, this risk is 2.5 times higher than 20-year-old women with normal weight.
There was no association between high BMI and dementia risk in women in the middle-aged, suggesting that being overweight should occur at a younger age.
For men, being 20 years of age increased the risk of dementia by 2.5 times. Men who were only overweight in the middle-age group had a 1.5-fold higher risk, but if the man was obese it increased to 2-fold.
For both sexes, the risk of dementia was higher in later life, which is understandable, as age itself is a primary risk factor.
“This is a very rare study found in individuals from early adolescence to middle age and then as senior people,” Carillo said. “So that’s really why we wanted to highlight it. We also want to think about how we can counteract this trend, because these are behaviors that are variable.”
This is a long-term, community-based study of dementia that follows approximately 6,000 elderly for 25 years. The study monitored variables such as school duration, student-teacher ratio, compulsory school enrollment age, minimum dropout age, and student attendance.
The analysis found that black men and women attending school in states with lower quality educational standards experience more rapid declines in memory and language in later life.
On the other hand, attending high-quality schools as a child was associated with better language and memory performance and lower risk of dementia at older ages. Carillo said that because higher education is a type of “cognitive reserve” that helps the brain overcome memory loss and other symptoms, which is longer than a person with less access to education.
“Imagine you have a tree with amazing branches and complex leaf structures and a storm comes and works really hard,” Carillo said. “It will lose fewer leaves and branches. It will still be full.
“And that’s really our brain – just this amazing architecture of nervous tissue and connection,” she said. “The more you learn, the more connections you have and the more you can get a little lost and trimmed, or we can get trimmed as we age.”
Low-income families of color may live in areas with some high-quality schools. Parents are unable to send their child for stimulating day care or school programs, and may not have the time or resources To enrich the child’s life at home with books, music, art or other educational experiences.
In addition, food deserts are common, health insurance is expensive and public health care is spotty, often also catering to the child’s nutritional needs.
“I’m Mexican American. I grew up in Chicago, in the inner city, with parents who didn’t speak English,” Carillo said. “I am glad that I had that experience, but I can also tell you that those social determinants of health are really meaningful in our communities.
“Lack of access to good health care, no access to information about healthy foods or alternatives, what we make is very real.”
And finally, violence has an impact on both the home and the community, with scientists growing the realization that racism can have a negative effect on themselves and the child’s brain and body.
“We know that stress in particular is very closely linked to challenges with cognition and increases the risk of dementia,” Carillo said.
What can be done? Carillo acknowledges that families may not be able to control their children, their race, socioeconomic status, or neighborhoods born in genetics, but are there to take action.
“You can actually see the kids stay in school, allowing them to complete high school,” Carillo said. Years of retirement.
“This cognitive reserve is very important,” she said. “It’s never too early or too late to take action to protect your memory and thinking abilities.”