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AAIC 2022 | Impact of race and ethnicity on greenspace-brain health associations

Lilah Besser, PhD, MSPH, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Boca Raton, FL, explains the findings of a review on neighborhood greenspace and brain health outcomes, particularly looking at how race and ethnicity may impact these associations. Residential greenspaces are recognized social determinants of health, with greenspace access associating with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD)-related comorbidities and increased participation in risk-reducing behaviors. Racial/ethnic minority groups not only have a higher risk for comorbidities that increase ADRD risk, but are less likely to live in neighborhoods with greenspace. Looking at the published literature to date, this investigation showed that over 50 studies have been published looking at associations between greenspace and ADRD outcomes, around 75% of which have shown at least one positive link between exposure and ADRD outcomes. However, only 37% included racially and ethnically diverse populations in their studies and only 3 studies looked at the impact of race/ethnicity on greenspace-brain health associations. These findings reflect the need for greater study of the impact of race and ethnicity on greenspace as a social determinant of health. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2022 in San Diego, CA.