Black doctors are fascinated by recent data showing that stressors such as racism are more likely to cause black brains to age faster than brains of other races, not surprisingly. . But doctors said lifestyle changes and preventive care could help slow some of the decline.
In a study published last month in the journal JAMA Neurology, Columbia University researchers found racial and ethnic disparities in brain markers in cases of dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists analyzed his MRI scans of about 1,500 participants and found that black adults in their mid-50s had more cerebrovascular disease or indicators of cerebrovascular disease than white or Hispanic adults in the same age group. We found that it likely represents a certain white matter lesion. Cognitive decline.
The authors say that “social forces” may be involved in the accelerated brain aging seen in black subjects. Notably, this study supports the weathering hypothesis that “chronic exposure to social and economic harm accelerates the deterioration of physical health,” on average black middle-aged adults early in life. may develop cerebrovascular disease.
JAMA Neurology did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.
Philippe Douyon, Ph.D., a neurologist at the Inle Brain Fit Institute in New Jersey, who hosts The Brain Prophets Podcast, said it’s possible that some may interpret the study to mean that black people are naturally more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. said he was concerned about sexuality. “Not at all. Many things contribute to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Chronic stress also kills some of the neurons or brain cells in the brain that create new memories.” ‘ said Dooyoung.
He also noted that chronic stress as a result of “racism or racist health inequalities” may increase the risk of developing cognitive disease. I don’t want people to think it has anything to do with the fact that I have dark skin,” he said.
Dr. Richard D. King, a neurologist and associate professor at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine, said many people who experience a decline in brain function don’t realize they have a problem until “a significant decline” has occurred.
He added that stress can exacerbate high blood pressure, which can predispose to cognitive decline.
“Elevated blood pressure is a very strong risk factor for worsening cerebrovascular disease,” said King. “But two people can react to the exact same stress in very different ways. It’s hard to measure independently.”
Donald Grant, a psychologist and executive director of Mindful Training Solutions, which designs diversity, equity, and inclusion programs for businesses, believes that the stress of being black in America can take its toll on the brain. says that there is
Grant said, “I’m talking about black people who are under a high degree of racist stress. “We see racism denying us housing and equal opportunities. stress, and our brains are affected by it.”
Douyon says there are many ways to slow aging of the brain, including maintaining a healthy diet and getting proper rest.
“Eating a healthy diet can minimize the risk of dementia: increase fruits, grains and vegetables and moderately reduce animal fats and sweets,” he said. “You should make sure you get six to eight hours of sleep each night.”
Douyon says that sleep deprivation in midlife, in your 20s to 50s, may increase your risk of dementia in your 60s, 70s, or 80s. He said it was important not only to get enough sleep, but also to have deep sleep, known as non-REM sleep.
“That’s when the brain essentially clears out the toxins it’s been producing throughout the day. am.
King added that it’s also important to keep your mind and body active.
“Exercise is a big thing,” he said. But physical activity is my best anti-aging prescription.
King and Douyon also suggested playing board games, solving puzzles, and reading books as ways to exercise your brain.
“Learning a new hobby makes a big difference,” said King. “And stay socially active. Staying connected to family, friends, church, and social organizations brings meaningful interactions. It just doesn’t work out as well as people do.”
Additionally, Grant believes finding ways to manage stress is just as important.
One option is to engage in activities like restorative yoga to help manage stress and regulate blood pressure and brain function.
“Racism creates a unique stress that no one else experiences,” he said. “We have to start building a school de-stressing regimen that is specific to race-based stress and trauma. This type of yoga is one of them.”
“This research suggests that if we can close the socioeconomic gap, provide more opportunities, and reduce the number of microaggressions black people face, we could see some change in that,” King said. It certainly suggests
He added that high blood pressure and diabetes, which are prevalent in the black community, can be managed with proper health care and are both very common but “highly treatable.”
“What is measured is managed,” says King. “So you have to measure it. You have to go to your primary care doctor and have your blood pressure and blood sugar checked. You also have to take your medication regularly.”
A holistic approach is likely the best way to slow brain aging, says Douyon.
“You will want to be constantly learning, always evolving, learning new skills, interacting with different people, learning new languages, traveling the world and having new experiences,” he said. “Being creatures of habit is killing our neurological potential. It’s something we can do every day to minimize the risk of developing something like