According to a recent report, people in their middle and older years who lived in more deprived communities, specifical regions with greater poverty levels and less education and job prospects, had more brain shrinkage on the brain scans and experienced quicker deterioration on cognitive assessments than those who lived in less disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Brain Health – Affected By Poor Neighborhood
“Dementia poses as a significant cause of disease and a debilitating diagnosis all around the world,” said Amy J. H. Kind, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, who led the research. This might be due to the fact that no sure shot treatment is available for this disorder which makes determining modifiable risk factors potentially more critical.
There is compelling evidence that the social, economic, cultural, and physical environments in which people live have an effect on their wellbeing. It was yet to understand how this neighborhood attributes the risk of neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in its early stages.
The study was conducted; it involved 601 participants for the sample from two broader surveys of Wisconsin residents. At the outset of the survey, participants were on average 59 years old and had no memory or thinking disorders, while 69 percent had a family history of dementia. They were observed for a period of ten years.
Initially, an MRI brain scan was performed on every individual, followed by additional scans every three to five years. Researchers found out that brain volume in areas of the brain related to Alzheimer’s dementia progressed after each scan. Every two years, participants were tested on their memory and reasoning skills, including processing capacity, mental flexibility, and executive function.
Researchers used each participant’s address and a metric called the Area Deprivation Index to assess if they lived in an affluent or impoverished community. Census areas that are used to define neighborhoods in the index constituted 1500 people. This index takes into account details about each neighborhood’s socioeconomic circumstances and its inhabitants, ranking neighborhoods based on 17 factors such as wages, jobs, schooling, and housing quality.
The results, when later assessed, presented 19 individuals to be living in the state’s 20% most deprived communities, while 582 people lived in the state’s remaining 80%. The first group was then paired one to four times with the second group in terms of color, sex, age, and education, and the two groups were later comparatively analyzed.
Through results, it was found that there seems to be little variation in brain volume between those living in the most deprived neighborhoods and those living in other neighborhoods at the outset of the research. However, researchers discovered brain shrinkage in regions of the brain linked to dementia in people living in the poorest communities, although no shrinkage was observed in the other population.
Researchers have discovered a greater rate of regression on Alzheimer’s disease susceptibility studies. According to Kind, We have to understand that results show in this vulnerable group, heightened attention by healthcare providers for early symptoms of dementia might be quite relevant.
Air quality, a lack of access to nutritious food and healthcare, and traumatic life experiences are other potential causes of these brain changes.
More research can help us understand the potential of social and biological mechanisms that can aid clinicians, researchers, and policymakers in identifying successful avenues for both Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer-associated dementia for its proper prevention and intervention.
More research needs to work in this niche as A small number of participants from particularly impoverished communities and a narrow geographic environment were both limitations of the research. Future research should have wider and more varied groups of participants, as well as longer time spans.