Understanding the Cognitive Impact of Neighborhood Disadvantage on Black Women: Tanisha Hill-Jarrett, PhD


The neuropsychologist and assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center provided comment on her presentation from AAN 2024 examining the association of area deprivation index with cognitive functioning in Black women. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"Intervening on an individual, but also community education level, designing interventions that improve literacy, education, and access to education may attenuate those negative impacts of neighborhood."

Alzheimer disease (AD) is a continually growing neurodegenerative disorder, with estimates indicating that 13.5 million individuals in the US will have AD by the year 2050. Over the years, a growing body of evidence has suggested that older African American individuals face a disproportionate burden of cognitive impairment and dementia compared with other racial and ethnic groups. Traditionally, African American individuals have been under-represented in AD clinical research studies, particularly longitudinal studies that include racially relevant risk factors and studies that include biomarkers and neuropathology.

At the 2024 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, held April 13-18, in Denver, Colorado, data from Black Women’s Health Study participants showed that area deprivation index (ADI) was associated with subjective cognitive function in Black women in disadvantaged neighborhoods after adjustment for early risk factors. The analysis included 20,768 participants aged 55 and older who completed 6 subjective cognitive function questions. Led by Tanisha Hill-Jarrett, PhD, associations between ADI and subjective cognitive functioning were quantified as 3-level variable (good: 0 problems; moderate: 1-2 problems; poor: 3+ problems) using multinominal logistic regression.

All told, the multivariable odds ratio for poor compared with good subjective cognitive function among Black women at the highest vs the lowest quintile of ADI was 1.21 (95% CI, 1.02-1.42). Interestingly, this association was attenuated by adjustment for participant education (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.9-1.27). Hill-Jarrett, neuropsychologist and assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center, sat down with NeurologyLive® at the meeting to discuss the significance of educating those in disadvantaged neighborhoods about the risks of AD and how to best prevent it. In addition, she spoke about some the change that needs to occur in these areas, including increased access to proper healthy foods and green space.

Click here for more coverage of AAN 2024.

1. Hill-Jarrett T, Buto P, Glymour MM, et al. The association between neighborhood disadvantage and subjective cognitive functioning among Black women. Presented at: 2024 AAN Annual Meeting; April 13-18; Denver, CO. Abstract 003191

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