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African-Americans and dementia




A colored magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain of a 76-year-old patient with dementia shows the brain has atrophied and the dark brown fluid-filled spaces have become enlarged.
A colored magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain of a 76-year-old patient with dementia shows the brain has atrophied and the dark brown fluid-filled spaces have become enlarged.
Zephyr/Science Source

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African-Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia at two to three times the rate of non-Hispanic whites, but at the same time - they are less likely to take part in research.

That's created a challenge for researchers hoping to get a better understanding how the disease affects this population.

We spoke to Anna Gorman, a a reporter for Kaiser Health News. We started our conversation by talking about two people she profiled, Levi and Dorothy Reeves, an African American couple dealing with dementia. 

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Levi suffers from a form of dementia called Lewy Body Dementia. Dorothy has been taking care of him for years, dressing and feeding him, but although she has not had a negative experience with a doctor, she was initially hesitant to donate Levi's brain to researchers so they could study the effects of the disease.

And that speaks to a bigger problem with understanding African Americans and Alzheimers and Demetia.

(click on the blue arrow to hear the entire interview)