Patients at Memory Clinic More Likely to Live in Advantaged Areas

Lower percentage of patients at clinic self-identified as Black compared with average percentage living in catchment area
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THURSDAY, Aug. 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Patients seen at a memory clinic are more likely to live in more advantaged neighborhoods, and Black people are underrepresented in these clinics, according to a study published online Aug. 2 in Neurology.

Abigail Lewis, from Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues examined how use of a memory clinic is associated with neighborhood-level measures of socioeconomic factors and the intersectionality of race in a cross-sectional study utilizing electronic health record data. In addition, the severity of dementia was compared at the initial visit for patients self-identifying as Black or White.

Data were included for 4,824 patients (mean age, 72.7 years) seen at the Washington University Memory Diagnostic Center between 2008 and 2018. The researchers found that of the memory clinic patients, most lived in more advantaged neighborhoods within the catchment area. Compared with the average percentage of Black individuals by Census tract in the catchment area, the percentage of patients self-identifying as Black was lower (11 versus 16 percent). Black patients lived in neighborhoods that were less advantaged. At the initial visit, Black patients were more likely to have moderate or severe dementia than White patients (odds ratio, 1.59).

"Our results are concerning, especially since these clinics are likely to be a major point of access for new Alzheimer's treatments as they become available," coauthor Albert M. Lai, Ph.D., also from Washington University, said in a statement. "While we studied one memory clinic, if additional research finds similar disparities in other memory clinics, then these differences in access could worsen existing health care disparities."

Several authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text

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