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Minorities hardest hit by Alzheimer's

Posted - Jul. 22, 2004 at 6:40 a.m.



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PHILADELPHIA, Jul 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Alzheimer's disease begins almost seven years earlier in U.S. Latinos than whites and affects more African-Americans than whites, U.S. researchers said.

In research presented at an international conference by the Alzheimer's Association, University of Pennsylvania researchers evaluated 119 Latinos and 55 non-Latino white Alzheimer's patients. They found first symptoms began 6.8 years earlier in Latinos than whites after adjusting for other factors. The unadjusted mean age of onset was about 68 years for Latinos and 73 for whites, researchers said.

In another study, researchers from the University of South Carolina at Columbia analyzed a comprehensive state database that follows more than 37,000 people with Alzheimer's. They found blacks ages 55 to 64 were more than three times as likely to have Alzheimer's than whites, with disparity decreasing with age, probably due to greater mortality among blacks, researchers said.

Other researchers at the conference said culturally sensitive screening tools for Alzheimer's symptoms, which need to be more widely used, could eliminate the disparity.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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