1,467 participants: Racial Disparities More Likely Seen, Cerebrovascular Disease in Midlife

Brain aging is more pronounced in Latinx and White adults in late life, while brain aging begins in midlife in Black adults.

According to a study published online in JAMA Neurology, racial disparities in small vessel cerebrovascular disease are seen in midlife.

Indira C. Turney, Ph.D., from the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues examined the racial and ethnic disparities in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers of cerebrovascular disease and neurodegeneration using data from two community-based cohort studies (Washington Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project [WHICAP] and the Offspring Study of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Alzheimer Disease [Offspring]). The final sample included 1,467 participants: 970 from WHICAP and 497 from Offspring.

The researchers observed racial and ethnic disparities in strokes in midlife and late life, while disparities in cortical thickness were only seen in late life. For cortical thickness and white matter hyperintensity volume, Black-White disparities were more significant than Latinx-White disparities.

For Latinx and White, but not Black participants, brain aging, or the association of age with MRI measures, was more significant in late life than in midlife. For Black participants, the association between age and MRI measures was similarly strong in midlife and late life.

“This study shows that race and ethnicity disparities observed at older ages are apparent in midlife, suggesting accelerated brain aging in Black participants,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology industry and a white matter hyperintensity quantification patent.

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