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No Change Seen in Trends of Dementia in Black, White Adults in U.S.

FRIDAY, Dec. 11, 2020 -- From 2000 to 2016, there was no evidence to suggest that the ratio of dementia risk changed across Black and White individuals in the United States, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in JAMA Neurology.

Melinda C. Power, Sc.D., from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined relative racial disparities in dementia prevalence or incidence from 2000 to 2016 using data from the Health and Retirement Study. About 17,000 to 22,000 respondents were surveyed at each wave since 2000; data were included from non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black participants aged 70 years and older.

The researchers found that the mean age and percentage of male participants eligible for inclusion in analyses of racial disparities in dementia prevalence increased over time among non-Hispanic White participants and remained steady among non-Hispanic Black participants. Comparing Black and White participants, non-Hispanic Black participants had a higher prevalence of dementia compared with non-Hispanic White participants, with prevalence ratios ranging from about 1.5 to 1.9 across algorithms and years; hazard ratios varied from about 1.4 to 1.8. Results indicated a stable or declining dementia risk overall, but no evidence indicated a change in relative racial disparities in dementia prevalence or incidence during follow-up.

"Although our findings suggest stable or declining dementia risk overall, we found no evidence to suggest that relative racial disparities in dementia risk have narrowed between 2000 and 2016," the authors write. "Additional efforts to identify and mitigate factors contributing to these disparities is warranted."

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Posted: December 2020

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