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Medical News & Perspectives
August 15, 2001

Racial Barriers May Hamper Diagnosis, Care of Patients With Alzheimer Disease

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JAMA. 2001;286(7):779-780. doi:10.1001/jama.286.7.779-JMN0815-3-1

Chicago—Alzheimer disease (AD) may present something of a double whammy to black Americans. Evidence suggests that elderly African Americans may be more likely than white people to receive a misdiagnosis because of racial bias inherent in at least some of the available screening tools, and even those who are given correct diagnoses face barriers that discourage them and their caregivers from obtaining needed services.

"Barriers exist to early detection of Alzheimer's disease and acquisition of services for African Americans," said geriatrician Vicki T. Lampley-Dallas, MD, MPH, of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, speaking here at the 10th National Alzheimer's Disease Education Conference. Based on her analysis of published studies, she said that "African Americans stand a greater chance of being misdiagnosed and mistreated by the very people who are supposed to help them, including physicians, nursing homes, and community service providers."

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