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Study Suggests Racist Treatment Causes Aging In Black People

A new study has found that African-American men who have experienced consistent racism literally age more quickly than those who have not, The effects are made even more significant when the black men who experience racism have an “internalized bias,” or negative views about black people themselves. The more rapid aging leaves them susceptible to a myriad of illnesses and diseases including diabetes and heart disease.

The study was completed by the University of Maryland, which interviewed and performed medical tests on 92 black men. The findings showed that the experience of frequent racism contributed most to aging even after factoring in other circumstances including education, income and lifestyle. However, those with a “pro-black” attitude managed to cope with racism better than those who had the internalized bias.

“Our findings suggest that racism literally makes people old,” said Dr. David Chae, the university’s assistant professor of epidemiology. “We found that the African-American men who experienced greater racial discrimination and who displayed a stronger bias against their own racial group had the shortest telomeres of those studied.” Telomeres are DNA biomarkeres that get shorter as the body ages and are associated with a greater risk of premature death from disease and an increased chance of dementia.

(Photo: Reuters)

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