Latinos and African-Americans live longer with Alzheimer's disease

Nov 14, 2007

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Latinos and African Americans with Alzheimer’s disease live longer than white people who have the disease, according to a study published November 14, 2007, in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The findings were the same even after researchers adjusted for education level, age when symptoms began, living situation, and other factors that could affect how long the study participants lived. Autopsies showed that the severity of the disease was similar among the ethnicities.

The study involved nearly 31,000 people with Alzheimer’s who were seen at Alzheimer’s Disease Centers across the country. Of the participants, 81 percent were white, 12 percent were African American, four percent were Latino, 1.5 percent were Asian and .5 percent were American Indian. They were followed for an average of 2.4 years. The participants lived for an average of 4.8 years after being diagnosed with the disease. Autopsies were performed on 3,000 of the participants.

Latino participants lived an average of about 40 percent longer than the white participants; African American participants lived an average of 15 percent longer than whites did. Asian and American Indian participants lived about as long with the disease as the white participants did.

“It’s not clear why Latinos and African Americans have an advantage when it comes to living longer with Alzheimer’s disease,” said study author Kala Mehta, DSc, of the University of California, San Francisco, and member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Possible explanations may be underlying genetic or cultural factors.”

Mehta said other factors that could account for the differences in surviving with the disease could be varying levels of social support from extended family, varying levels of health and diseases in addition to Alzheimer’s disease, varying levels of treatment of other diseases, and differences in measurement or earlier diagnosis in some groups. Another factor could be length of stay in the United States; many participants came from other countries where the survival time with Alzheimer’s may differ from in the United States.

“Determining the underlying factors behind this difference could lead to longer survival for everyone with Alzheimer’s disease,” Mehta said. “Regardless of the reason for this difference, these findings may have implications for health care planning for people with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Mehta says no general conclusions should be drawn about the inherent health or fitness of the ethnic groups involved.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Explore further: Mali announces new Ebola case

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA issues 'remastered' view of Jupiter's moon Europa

8 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Scientists have produced a new version of what is perhaps NASA's best view of Jupiter's ice-covered moon, Europa. The mosaic of color images was obtained in the late 1990s by NASA's Galileo ...

Dish restores Turner channels to lineup

9 hours ago

Turner Broadcasting channels such as Cartoon Network and CNN are back on the Dish network after being dropped from the satellite TV provider's lineup during contract talks.

LiquidPiston unveils quiet X Mini engine prototype

14 hours ago

LiquidPiston has a new X Mini engine which is a small 70 cubic centimeter gasoline powered "prototype. This is a quiet, four-stroke engine with near-zero vibration. The company said it can bring improvements ...

Recommended for you

Mali announces new Ebola case

6 hours ago

Mali announced Saturday a new case of Ebola in a man who is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in the capital Bamako.

Plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar: WHO

7 hours ago

An outbreak of plague has killed 40 people in Madagascar, the World Health Organization said, warning that the disease could spread rapidly in the country's densely populated capital Antananarivo.

UN chief: Ebola cases in Mali a 'deep concern'

20 hours ago

The United Nations chief warned Friday that Ebola may be easing in part of West Africa but is still hitting hard in other areas and outpacing the international response.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.