Racism May Accelerate Aging in African-American Men

Medical Xpress, January 7, 2014

A new study reveals that racism may impact aging at the cellular level. Researchers found signs of accelerated aging in African American men, ages reporting high levels of racial discrimination and who had internalized anti-Black attitudes. Findings from the study, which is the first to link racism-related factors and biological aging, are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Racial disparities in health are well-documented, with African Americans having shorter life expectancy, and a greater likelihood of suffering from aging-related illnesses at younger ages compared to Whites. Accelerated aging at the biological level may be one mechanism linking racism and disease risk.

“We examined a biomarker of systemic aging, known as leukocyte telomere length,” explained Dr. David H. Chae, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the study’s lead investigator. Shorter telomere length is associated with increased risk of premature death and chronic disease such as diabetes, dementia, stroke and heart disease. “We found that the African American men who experienced greater racial discrimination and who displayed a stronger bias against their own racial group had the shortest telomeres of those studied.”

Telomeres are repetitive sequences of DNA capping the ends of chromosomes, which shorten progressively over time–at a rate of approximately 50-100 base pairs annually. Telomere length is variable, shortening more rapidly under conditions of high psychosocial and physiological stress. “Telomere length may be a better indicator of biological age, which can give us insight into variations in the cumulative ‘wear and tear’ of the organism net of chronological age,” said Chae. Among African American men with stronger anti-Black attitudes, investigators found that average telomere length was 140 base pairs shorter in those reporting high vs. low levels of racial discrimination; this difference may equate to 1.4 to 2.8 years chronologically.

Participants in the study were 92 African American men between 30-50 years of age. Investigators asked them about their experiences of discrimination in different domains, including work and housing, as well as in getting service at stores or restaurants, from the police, and in other public settings. They also measured racial bias using the Black-White Implicit Association Test. This test gauges unconscious attitudes and beliefs about race groups that people may be unaware of or unwilling to report.

Even after adjusting for participants’ chronological age, socioeconomic factors, and health-related characteristics, investigators found that the combination of high racial discrimination and anti-Black bias was associated with the shortest telomeres. On the other hand, the data revealed that racial discrimination had little relationship with telomere length among those holding pro-Black attitudes. “African American men who have more positive views of their racial group may be buffered from the negative impact of racial discrimination,” explained Chae. “In contrast, those who have internalized an anti-Black bias may be less able to cope with racist experiences, which may result in greater stress and shorter telomeres.”

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  • dd121

    Or could rapid aging come from their genetic make-up? Have to admit, though, the left is finding new and creative ways to hate us.

    • Rapid aging might also come from the lousy diets so many blacks eat. I suspect that rapid aging is a very minor component in black life expectancy, given the effects of common black social pathologies such as murder, drug overdoses and HIV/AIDS.

  • Puggg

    Racism causes hemorrhoids and ulcers.

    That will be next.

  • bigone4u

    Junk science? I believe so. The flaw relates to the alleged racism being based on self-reporting by the 92 male subjects. Black males are not exactly an unbiased source and that skews the findings.

    • Spartacus

      ….

      • Max Krakah

        It says it all!

  • JohnEngelman

    What about blacks who hate white people? Do they age faster or slower?

    • dd121

      They all hate us, so how can you tell?

      • JohnEngelman

        I have known many who do not hate us.

        • AutomaticSlim

          Many?

        • dd121

          I’ve know a few who had a veneer of civility but not so deep down they all feel like they’re victims of racism. That of course means it’s all whiteys fault.

        • Max Krakah

          No, you did not KNOW them.

      • Jesse_from_Sweden

        It’s all about the degree of hate.
        Some hate us more, some hate us less.
        Some even barely hates us at all, although the left is hard at work to increase that hate.

  • Who Me?

    “investigators found that the combination of high racial discrimination and anti-Black bias was associated with the shortest telomeres”

    Or maybe they found that those who experienced this so-called high racial discrimination were causing their own discrimination by their own actions, which also let to the shortening of their lives.

  • PvtCharlieSlate

    Just great!
    How long before this gets turned into disability payments?

    • Alexandra1973

      I would think that being black in and of itself is a disability. You can’t fit in with whites. You’re like a whiny, psychotic toddler.

  • Alexandra1973

    I would think walking around having a big chip on your shoulder might cause a bit of stress.

    Then there’s your standard black diet….

    • FransSusan

      I think that’s it, exactly! Chip on shoulder! It seems that they’re all angry about something most of the time, whining, blaming. That’s the cause of the stress. This study seems silly.

  • Hunter Morrow

    Racism causes everything to happen to blacks. What else is new.

  • Lewis33

    “Researchers found signs of accelerated aging in African American men…”

    Keep up the good work Amrener’s!

  • Jesse James

    I think that regardless of race anyone who goes around with a sour ungrateful attitude about life and seeks constant conflict with the people around them shortens their own life span and reduces their own happiness. Before you can be happy and healthy you must be grateful for your blessings.

  • IstvanIN

    Baloney. It is their life style. Period.

  • MekongDelta69

    ‘Evil white racism’ is the cause of… EVERYTHING.

    Boo Hoo…

    • The only solution for them to save their health is to emigrate from the developed West and head back to Africa, where there aren’t hardly any whites to stress their fragile biology. I await their departure with baited breath.

      • Brian

        If they want to postulate a cause here, they need to be a wee bit more specific. ‘Racism’ is a basket of things, not a single behavior. Is it the guy getting seated at a restaurant after the white guy who came in later that’s shortening these telomeres (and if so, how?) Or is it perhaps living in a ‘food desert’ and eating junk food (if so, how, not to mention how is the food desert even caused by racism itself, rather than simple market forces?)

        An alternative explanation is that the most defective of the blacks– those with the least social skills, intelligence, and impulse control– are the same with biological weaknesses like these telomeres. And their special level of defectiveness engenders more racism against them, or perhaps it just causes them to fail at life and they blame it on racism instead.

        Getting to the bottom of this would be difficult; I suppose it’s easier just to find the explanation that best serves the narrative and call it a day. Grant money please!

  • borogirl54

    Interesting. I wonder if this group of African Americans tend not to get medical treatment until it is too late.

  • T_Losan

    Racism: is there anything it can’t do?

  • John R

    And that is why black people live so much longer and happier in all black countries, where they don’t have to live with the degrading presence of White racism. As a matter of fact, I think the US government should offer American blacks free one way trip tickets back to Africa where they could live free of American racism.

  • MikeofAges

    Probably junk science. Probably. Throughout my lifetime, I have heard of all sorts of study results which turned out not to be repeatable. Until proven otherwise, put this one in the “junk” category.

  • So CAL Snowman

    Interesting, so according to this study the entire White race should be suffering from shortened telomeres seeing as how discrimination causes rapid aging.

  • Conrad

    OH MY GOD – I AM BLACK!!

  • RisingReich

    Yeah, but you’re NOT black. Blacks don’t think about those things at all. It’s all Whitey’s fault.

    • LACounty

      If all blacks thought it was so bad they’d up and leave for the old country. They know they have it made here. They have it made and they want more. I believe most blacks know this country is not only not racist towards blacks, but pampers them more than any other country could or would.
      “It’s all Whitey’s fault” is code for “GIMME MORE”, to which lowlife White liberal leaders (that includes Rinos) of this country fawn over. If Blacks were so concerned about Black crime, perhaps they’d be more concerned with having kids born into wedlock.
      I’ve never heard of one Black who’s concerned about aging due to racism. They cry racism, but aging from it is some crap some White Lib likely came up with.

  • Extropico

    Was this esteemed study correlated with an analogous inspection of telomeres of minority immigrants in Africa? Lol. Right.

  • Hunter Morrow

    We should do the humane thing. Send them back to black africa and watch them live sooooo much longer!

  • Romulus

    Huuuuh! *yawn* Good. Low life expectancy in blacks!. This is bad news!? (sarc)

  • Garrett Brown

    Should “science” even be considered “science” anymore?

  • MBlanc46

    They seem to be conflating “racial discrimination” and “feeling that one has been discriminated against due to race”. The latter is endemic among American Negroes.

  • Massif1

    That explains why blacks don’t like working. They need their beauty sleep to look good and young.

    • Alexandra1973

      They need to sleep more then. A LOT more.

    • Jack Burton

      That would put them in a permanent coma.

  • Max Krakah

    Wow! This is laughable!

  • Max Krakah

    The secret is Jello Pudding!

  • Magician

    Is there anything bad that happens to black people but is not white people’s fault?

    • LeGrandDerangement

      Um….no. Next question.

    • WR_the_realist

      If a black person falls out of a 20 story building and dies it’s white people’s fault because some white people invented gravity.

  • Jack Burton

    “Discrimination” hasn’t shortened the lives of Latinos and Asians in America, who have a longer average lifespan than Whites.

  • TXCriollo

    This has to be a joke someone is pulling my leg with this

  • Magician

    It is true, eating too much and/or obesity do shorten people’s lives. And the black community are the biggest customers of burger franchises in the country.

  • Magician

    Rather obvious but,

    To prevent your lives being shortened, please keep the following in your mind –

    1. Exercise regularly
    2. Obesity and/or eating too much does shorten people’s lives
    3. But do make sure you always get the proper nutrition
    4. Avoid smoking and excessive drinking. However, adequate and controlled consumption of alcohol can help you relieve stress.
    5. Sleep when you want to.
    6. Have sex regularly and happily. It will keep your wife happy and healthy as well.
    7. Always keep yourself hydrated. Our bodies use the water we drink to create fresh new blood and antibiotics to remove the harmful bacteria from the body.
    8. Avoid black males at all costs. Many of them can be quite fatal
    9. Carry concealed weapons when you have no choice but entering an area where black males are

  • Herman

    Kind of reminds me of when blacks complain about the lack of food.
    When they have serious obesity problems.

    • I have seen blacks in line ahead of me at Wal Mart with shopping carts loaded with junk food, salty, fat-laden “convenience” food and bottles of HFCS-sweetened soda. What I don’t see them buying is fresh produce, big bags of mixed “Bird’s Eye” frozen vegetables or unsweetened instant iced tea. We get ten-pound bags of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $19.99 at Costco, and I never see blacks shopping there. How do you beat $2 a pound for chicken breasts? In other words, they don’t buy good food even when it is available and inexpensive.

      I remember a Time Magazine article on what people eat, and it showed pictures of three families of four each with a month’s worth of groceries. The Japanese family had some beautiful cuts of fish and lots of vegetables. The German family had great pieces of meat and lots of fresh fruit. The black US family had soda and junk food. Nobody made them buy that garbage; they picked it out because that’s what they wanted.

  • Kenner

    Check ‘The 10,000 Year Explosion’. It’s not Lysenko-ism, but posits that the genes plus environment produce evolutionary changes, and that it’s still continuing.

  • dodger

    Then there are all the liberal luvvies who are encouraging and justifying the attitudes of blacks.

    Now, it seems, they are damaging their health.

  • wildfirexx

    Well I wonder what the African American life span is compared to their African cousins ? Probably a lot better!

  • John K

    To sum it all up: “Whitey be keepin’ a brotha down, knowhumsain?”

    Perhaps it is their extreme hatred for whitey they obsess over that accelerates their aging. Or maybe their poor diets consisting of fried foods and liquor.