One 1 in 10 Americans over 65 have dementia, while 22% have experienced mild cognitive impairment, the earliest stage of the slow slide into senility, according to a newly published study in the journal JAMA Neurology.
The study, conducted between 2016 and 2017, measures the prevalence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment by age, education, ethnicity, gender and race, CNN reported.
According to the study, 15% of people who identified as Black tested positive for dementia while 22% had a mild cognitive decline. Ten percent of people who identified as Hispanic suffers from dementia and 28% percent tested positive for mild cognitive impairment.
In contrast, 9% of whites had dementia, while 21% suffered mild cognitive impairment.
“Dementia research, in general, has largely focused on college-educated people who are racialized as white,” said Jennifer Manly, the study’s lead, CNN reported. “This study is representative of the population of older adults that have been historically excluded from dementia research but are at a higher risk of developing cognitive impairment because of structural racism and income inequality. If we’re interested in increasing brain health equity later in life, we need to know where we stand now and where to direct our resources.”
The study analyzed data from in-depth neuropsychological tests and interviews with almost 3,500 people over the age of 65 enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study, a long-term research project sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration.