Monday, July 17, 2017

Noise, Noise, NOISE! Could New York Neighborhood Noise Be Good for Poor Residents?

Loud workplace noise has been found by many studies to cause harm, but a recent analysis links the sounds of all-night car horn blasts and shouting by bar revelers in New York City's noisiest neighborhoods to unexplained improvements in body weight and blood pressure for the urban poor living there.
"To be clear, we're not saying that neighborhood noise causes better health, and a lot of further research is needed to explain the relationship we found between this kind of disturbance and health," says senior study investigator and NYU Langone Medical Center epidemiologist Dustin Duncan, ScD. "It may just be that New York's noisiest neighborhoods are also the most walkable and that its residents get more exercise that way. But our study shows that neighborhood noise may have an indirect impact on health that is different from known risk factors, such as diet and sedentary lifestyles."
"It made sense to study neighborhood noise because the neighborhood is where people spend most of their time; the city is a bustling, congested environment; and the health of people being studied is already at risk from the stresses of poverty," says Duncan, an assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone. Duncan led the study research team, whose report published online in April in the Journal of Community Health.
Specifically, researchers observed relatively lower body mass index (or BMI, a measure of body weight by height) and blood pressure among 102 men and women in the city's noisiest neighborhoods. All were participants in the NYC Low-Income Housing, Neighborhoods and Health Study and lived in affordable public housing. Most have annual incomes of $25,000 or less. Researchers gauged noise levels based on more than 145,000 noise complaints placed to the city's 3-1-1 non-emergency phone system in 2014.
Among the key findings of the analysis was that poor people living within a five-block radius with a thousand noise complaints had a BMI 2.72 points lower than if they had lived in a neighborhood that hypothetically had no noise complaints. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered "normal," and a BMI of 30 or more constitutes obesity, a major indicator for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Similarly, for blood pressure, researchers estimated a 5.34 point drop in systolic pressure (the upper number of two used to measure it) for a neighborhood with 1,000 noise complaints compared to a statistical model of a five-block radius that had none.
According to researchers, the city neighborhoods with the most noise complaints were mostly in Manhattan, and included Times Square in midtown, as well as all of downtown and parts of Queens. Noise complaints were markedly less, they say, in the outer boroughs, including the Bronx and Staten Island.
For the study, participants volunteered to carry GPS tracking devices for a week to track in real time where they spent their spare time and to have their body weight and blood pressure recorded.
Study lead investigator Kosuke Tamura, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at NYU Langone, says other than walkability, social factors and peer pressure could also account for the unexpected findings. Kosuke says some New Yorkers in Manhattan's noisiest and most fashionable neighborhoods may be more self-conscious about their physical shape and fitness than poor people in less noisy parts of the city, and these factors could be overriding some of the detrimental health effects from neighborhood noise.
Tamura says the team has plans for longer studies that account for population density, as a benchmark for walkability, to better assess the impact of neighborhood noise on health.
Funding support for the study, which took over a year to complete, was provided by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences grant UL1 TR000038, and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases grant R01 DK097347.
Other NYU Langone investigators involved in the research are Brian Elbel, PhD, MPH; Seann Regan, MA; Yaza Al-Ajlouni; and Jessica Athens, PhD. Other study investigators are Basile Chaix, PhD; and Julie Meline, PhD, at both the Sorbonne Universite and the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, or INSERM, in Paris, France.
Note: Video commentary from the researchers is available at:
Media Inquiries:
David March
SOURCE NYU Langone Medical Center

Alzheimer's, Dementia - Stressful Life Experiences Age the Brain by Four Years, African Americans Most at Risk

- Four studies highlight racial disparities in dementia risk and incidence -
Posted by Joyful Living Coaching on Health, Wellness & Wellbeing

A series of studies reported at the 2017 Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC 2017) in London confirm racial inequities in numbers of people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias - even after age 90 - and also point to growing evidence that early life stress and neighborhood conditions contribute to dementia risk in late life.

One new study in Wisconsin found that a single major stressful event in early life is equal to four years of cognitive aging, and African Americans are most at risk - on average, they experience over 60 percent more of such events than non-Hispanic Whites over their lifetimes. A second study conducted by a health plan in Northern California found that African Americans born in states with the highest levels of infant mortality had 40 percent increased risk of dementia compared to African Americans not from those states, and 80 percent increased risk compared to Whites not from those states. Other studies reported at AAIC 2017 found:
  • Racial disparities in the risk for new cases of dementia previously observed in the younger elderly continue into the oldest-old (age 90+), which is the fastest-growing segment of the population. Researchers found oldest-old African Americans and Latinos had the highest incidence rates compared to Asian Americans and Whites - matching the overall patterns of racial/ethnic disparities in dementia seen in younger elderly. This is the first time different ethnicities in this older population group have been studied for risk of incident dementia.
  • Neighborhood disadvantage may contribute to observed disparities in prevalence of dementia.
"These studies were done with U.S. data, but they add weight to the global body of evidence around disadvantage and dementia risk, which is an issue governments around the world grapple with, and one that requires coordinated action," said Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer's Association chief science officer. "For a racially diverse nation like the United States, and to address Alzheimer's and dementia on a global scale, these findings support the need for targeted interventions, whether preventive or service-driven, to help address the gaps we know exist - and for more research."
"In addition to research on Alzheimer's risk factors and biology, the Alzheimer's Association is particularly interested in increasing understanding of stigma and concern related to Alzheimer's and other dementias in diverse communities," Carrillo said.
Racial disparities in dementia continue into the oldest-oldIn younger elderly (65 and older), there are marked differences in rates of dementia by racial/ethnic groups, showing increased rates for African Americans and decreased rates for Asian Americans. The Alzheimer's Association 2017 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures reported that, for all adults 65 and older, African-Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer's or other dementias as older Whites and Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer's or other dementias as older Whites. However, it is not known if these discrepancies apply to the oldest-old (90 and older)...CONTINUE READING

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Help African-American Families Maintain Their Historic Property On Hilton Head Island, SC.

Petitioning Mayor, Town of Hilton Head David Bennett and 6 others.
Sign The Petition
Hilton Head Island, SC is famously known for its luxurious resorts, picturesque golf courses, and beautiful beaches.  However, there is an untold story of the many struggles and racial discriminatory practices that many native islanders still face. These native islanders (African-Americans also known as “Gullahs”) have lived on the island for decades.  The Gullahs are direct descendants of enslaved Africans from various ethnic groups from West and Central Africa with a distinct culture incorporating elements from different African cultural traditions, languages and religion. At the end of the Civil War, many purchased acreage of land as a place of refuge for their families.  Waterfront property in the late 1800’s sold for a few hundred dollars and today that same property is worth millions. 
Greed has caused many Gullah families to lose their land. Creative and divisive schemes by real estate developers and money hungry attorneys have created a blood bath leaving helpless natives as devoured prey. The enforcement of increased property taxes, partition sale actions, and the appointment of a receiver are a few of the many attempts which are the driving forces for Gullah families to lose their property.
Dennis Allen, a former slave started purchasing property on Hilton Head Island in 1897. To date the total acreage is 38.5 acres and remains the largest parcel of undeveloped land on the island.  Allen Family members started the 4DENNISMOVENT in 2015 to help protect Gullah land owners and to promote awareness of the unscrupulous acts of greed in the Gullah Geechee corridor of the United States (which encompasses the coastal areas of North Carolina through Florida).   In fact, the Allen family is in court now fighting to protect their property in which many generations have lived on for years.
The Allen family case was initiated in 2009 within the Beaufort County Court System.  For years, the family has been in and out of court battling an insurmountable number of legal issues. The most recent tactic involves assigning a “receiver” to collect money from those living on the property – the same property in which the family owns and pays property taxes. This motion was introduced by an attorney who has an ulterior motive, which is to sell the Allen property. There are several family members residing on the property who are elderly, fighting life threatening illnesses, and living on fixed incomes. The receiver would earn a fee or commission on the money he or she collects. Why should the family pay to live on land that they rightfully own?  The deed is in the name of the family, so no one should be able to dictate what they should do on their land.   You can learn more about the pending case by reviewing the court documents online at:
Case Number: 2009CPO704889
Please also see our interview in the recent article in The Nation Magazine, African Americans Have Lost Untold Acres of Land Over the Last Century. An obscure legal loophole is often to blame.
We need your signature and support to help promote justice for native island families on Hilton Head Island. Help us tell the Town of Hilton Head Island that CHANGE – is needed. They can no longer treat tax paying, law abiding citizens unfairly as the world only see the perception of Hilton Head Island as this beautiful oasis of paradise.  There are many unfair and racial discriminatory practices that have been hidden for years as referenced in the book, The Land Was Ours, How Black Beaches Became White Wealth in the Coastal South by Andrew W. Kahrl.
There are many laws protecting the property of Native Americans, however there is very little protecting Gullah families for the right to maintain their land and culture.  Most recently, the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act was signed into law in South Carolina, however it does not cover cases that were in process before January 2017. The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act is needed and we need more to help native islanders.  Protective laws are needed to preserve land owned by slaves and the Gullah community. The Gullah community is vastly becoming extinct due to greed.  Help us stand up to these acts! Please sign for justice. Please sign to help the Allen Family fight against the appointment of a receiver!  Please sign to tell the Town of Hilton Head to STAND UP and SUPPORT island native communities. Too many families have lost their land due to discriminatory laws, loopholes, and practices.  Please sign to let South Carolina Legislatures become more aware and cognizant of the importance of preserving historic land. Justice for Gullah – because every community matter!  
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