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Alzheimer's Disease

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The lecture was an introduction to Alzheimer’s disease as a population health problem.

Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. It is projected that there will be 13.4 million people with Alzheimer’s by 2050. As of now, there is no cure for the disease.

In comparison to white Americans, black Americans are two times more likely to develop the disease, whereas Latinx Americans are 1.5 times as likely. However there is mixed evidence for the likelihood of developing the disease in a multitude of groups such as race, gender disparities, early socioeconomic status. Education is the only aspect that does not have mixed evidence.

The lecturer’s first hypothesis is that those who occupy multiple socially-disadvantaged positions will have lower later life cognitive function than their more privileged peers. On average, black women are 7 ½ years older in cognitive function than same age white peers. The results of the first hypothesis was stunning; on average white males and females had a much higher fluid cognition than black, latinx and other races.

The lecturer’s second hypothesis tests cumulative disadvantage, persistent inequality and age as leveler models for how cognitive function changes over time. Hypothesis 2A compared race, gender, and age to the cognitive trajectories whereas hypothesis 2b also accounted for lifecourse SES along with the other parts in hypothesis 2a. The results for both of the hypotheses were astounding, but not shocking. White women and men had a much higher predicted fluid cognition, often times staying above the mean whereas other races would decline much faster.

In conclusion, those who occupy multiple socially-disadvantaged positions do have multiplicatively lower later-life cognition. However, SES affects each race/gender groups differently.



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