Posted on November 20, 2022

Study Finds Racism Causes Black Americans’ Brains to Age Faster Than People of Other Races

Allana Akhtar, Insider, November 16, 2022

Black brains age quicker than white brains, and racism might be why, according to a new study.

A new study, published in JAMA Neurology on Monday, analyzed the brain scans of 455 Black participants, 275 white participants, and 737 Latinx participants.

Researchers found brain scans of middle-aged and elderly Black participants had more signs of cerebrovascular disease, or disorders that effect blood supply to the brain and that are common among people with Alzheimer’s, than white brains of the same age.

Black brains also exhibited signs of aging sooner — at around mid-life — compared to white and Latinx brains. These signs include how much white matter is in the brain and the width of gray matter in the outer layer of the brain.

The paper suggest the “cumulative effects of oppression, environmental adversity, and psychological stress” — or a lifetime of exposure to racism and discrimination — might be causing Black brain to age faster, since scientists have previously determined these factors can lead to cognitive decline.