Living in Poverty May Increase Alzheimer’s Risk

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In a new study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers examined donated brain tissue from 427 individuals to understand the relationship between poverty and Alzheimer’s-related brain changes. The research linked the addresses of those who had donated brain tissue to the Area Deprivation Index, a 10-point scale that ranks neighborhoods by their level of socioeconomic disadvantage. Nearly 90 percent of the brains tested showed some degree of Alzheimer’s disease. However, those living in the poorest neighborhoods showed the highest risk for these brain changes and for each one-point increase on the scale of socioeconomic deprivation, there was an 8 percent increase in the odds for Alzheimer’s brain pathology. The researchers acknowledged that the sample size of brains of people from the most disadvantaged areas was small and that these results may not be applicable in a larger and more diverse population.

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