A new film highlights a health disparity when it comes to Alzheimer's disease in the Native American community.
The 35-minute film Still Here focuses on North Carolina Native American families. It looks at caretakers of Alzheimer's patients, as they narrate their experiences from the beginning when they started noticing changes in their loved one's behavior.
Professor Ronny Bell is with Wake Forest School of Medicine. His research shows that American Indians in North Carolina are more likely to suffer from memory loss and Alzheimer's disease
“The only indicator for risk we have for Alzheimer's in North Carolina is if we look at death certificate data,” explains Bell. “So if you do that and calculate it as a rate of the population, that rate of death is about 50 to 75 percent higher for American Indians compared to non-Hispanic whites.”
Some conditions that are common in Native American communities, such as diabetes, may increase the risk for Alzheimer's. Researchers say more needs to be done to include Native Americans in medical studies.
The film is a collaboration between four North Carolina organizations including Wake Forest School of Medicine Alzheimer's Disease Core Center, North Carolina American Indian Health Board, UNC School of Medicine Center for Aging and Health, and Health Carolina Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program.
Eileen Rodriguez is a reporter for both WFDD and La Noticia through Report for America, where she covers COVID-19's impact in the Latino Communities. You can read this story in Spanish at La Noticia.
Periodista de La Noticia y 88.5 WFDD, Eileen Rodríguez reporta el impacto de COVID-19 en la comunidad Latina en Carolina del Norte. Rodríguez es miembro del cuerpo de periodistas de Report for America 2021-2022