Alzheimer’s rep: Act now on impact of racism on the brain

To the Editor:

At the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2022 held in San Diego July 31-Aug. 4, researchers shared new insights on the impact of racism on the brain.

In a study of nearly 1,000 middle-aged community-dwelling adults, exposure to interpersonal and institutional racism was associated with lower memory scores, and these associations were most strongly seen in Black individuals.

This research underscores the importance of addressing health care disparities to achieve health equity. According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, Blacks are about twice as likely, and Hispanic/Latinos are about one and one-half times as likely, to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

It also further emphasizes the need to ensure that Alzheimer’s and dementia research reflects the diversity of the population. The bipartisan Equity in Neuroscience and Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials Act has the ability to address many of these issues. The ENACT Act would create a path to better Alzheimer’s care and address shortcomings in the way research and care are currently being delivered to underrepresented communities.

Currently, no members of the Ohio Congressional Delegation have signed on to support this bill. I strongly encourage U.S. Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Bob Latta to join in co-sponsoring this important bipartisan legislation.

Please join me and the Alzheimer’s Association in asking our Congressional representatives from Ohio to support ENACT.

I encourage all in my community who are concerned about the impacts of Alzheimer’s to learn more and to act by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org/advocate.

Camren Harris

Alzheimer’s Association public policy manager