Nonwhite Adults With Cognitive Impairment More Likely to Live in Polluted Areas

Authors say clinical trials should take into account environmental exposures and injustices
Nonwhite Adults With Cognitive Impairment More Likely to Live in Polluted Areas
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TUESDAY, May 21, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Nonwhite adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are more likely to live in areas with higher pollution, according to a study published online May 14 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports.

Alisa Adhikari, from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues explored how environmental vulnerabilities (measured by the Environmental Justice Index) vary by race/ethnicity and whether they predict cognitive outcomes with MCI. The analysis included data from 107 individuals with MCI (28 percent minorities).

The researchers found that overall, the Environmental Burden Rank (EBR) was near the 50th percentile nationally. However, when stratified by race/ethnicity, environmental and social vulnerabilities were significantly higher for minorities, including specifically for exposure to ozone, diesel particulate matter, carcinogenic air toxins, and proximity to treatment storage and disposal sites. There was no correlation between Area Deprivation Index state decile and EBR. Additionally, neither EBR nor Area Deprivation Index were a significant predictor of cognitive decline.

“We tend to treat all sites and all subjects in a clinical trial as homogeneous with regards to environmental exposures," senior author P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.B.B.S., also from Duke University, said in a statement. "Moving forward, this type of metric may prove useful to help us better study how environmental exposures impact clinical trial outcomes." 

Two authors disclosed ties to the biotechnology and health care industries.

Abstract/Full Text

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