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OC Racism: Bad for Brain Health

Whatever keeps the community up at night – or makes them pull the covers over their head to not face the day – probably won’t surface for years to come, but Dr. Karen Lincoln sees where it starts in the early stages through brain imaging.

In and of itself, she said it’s not so much about sleep, but rather why advanced aging disproportionately impacts the Black community. Two of her landmark studies, Sleep Tight and Express Yourself, show how and why everyday discrimination and microaggressions are taking a dramatic toll on health.

Earlier this year, Dr. Lincoln joined UCI faculty as a professor, and is also the director of the Center for Environmental Health Disparities Research.

She said too much sleep or lack of it is showing up in unexpected ways in the Black community, who, when compared to whites, show signs of aging faster and higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

“You can take a 60-year-old Black person and 60-year-old white person, even though they are the same chronological age, the Black person would be 67 years just because of exposure to all these social stressors,” said Dr. Lincoln, Ph.D., MSW, MA.

Read the article here.