Dementia differences in brain vary by race

DAVIS, Calif. (WPVI) -- A major new study says dementia looks very different in the brains of various ethnic groups.

Scientists at the University of California-Davis say when they examined brain samples from 80-year-old whites with dementia, about 50% had just Alzheimer's disease. Among African Americans, it was evenly split between those with Alzheimer's and those who had dementia caused by blood vessel disease.

But UC-Davis nuerologist Dr. Charles DeCarli says his team saw a big difference in Hispanics.

"In the Latino population, it was almost all cerebrovascular disease, with much less alzheimer's disease," he notes.

American Hispanics have higher rates of diabetes and vascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, among Hispanic adults age 20 and older, 48.3% of men and 32.4% of women have cardiovascular disease.

Dr. DeCarli says the study results suggest that more aggressive treatment of these diseases in younger years could reduce dementia among Hispanics and African Americans.,

This is the first time doctors have examined sources of dementia along racial lines, although they have known for years that these two groups, especially Hispanics, are more likely to develop it much sooner
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