Study Reveals Racial Disparities in Alzheimer’s Diagnoses and Imaging Access


Jessica Guthrie adjusts the glasses of her mother, Constance, after waking her up in the morning, in Fredericksburg, Va., on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. Constance has lived 74 years, many of them good, as a Black woman, a mother, educator and businesswoman. But she will die of Alzheimer’s disease, a scourge of Black Americans that threatens to grow far worse in coming decades. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
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(AURN News) – Important new research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America this week highlights a significant racial disparity in the timing of an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and access to imaging. The study, led by Dr. Joshua Wibecan, a radiology resident at Boston Medical Center, sheds light on the challenges faced by Black Americans in receiving timely diagnoses for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“If disparity in obtaining access to neuroimaging is one possible barrier that delays diagnosis, it is important to identify this and figure out possible solutions to benefit these patients and prevent a delayed diagnosis,” Dr. Wibecan said in a statement.

According to the findings, Black Americans face a higher risk of Alzheimer’s and various dementia types. The study shows that the Black community is not only less likely to receive a diagnosis but also experiences delays compared to their white counterparts.

The research revealed striking differences in the age at which imaging services were utilized among various ethnic groups. On average, African American patients underwent imaging at 72.5 years old, compared to 67.8 years old for white patients and 66.5 years old for Hispanic patients. Additionally, the study found that only 50.9% of Black patients underwent MRI scans, while 60% of white patients and 67% of Hispanic patients received the same diagnostic procedure.

Click play to listen to the AURN News report from Jamie Jackson:

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