The Life Expectancy of Native Americans
In the USA, the life expectancy of Native Americans is almost 20 years shorter than the national average. According to a poll by NPR, approximately one-quarter of Natives report experiencing discrimination when going to a doctor.
A member of the Hidatsa tribe, Margaret Moss worked as a nurse and currently teaches nursing at the University of Buffalo, experienced discrimination when her son had a broken arm. Margaret Moss said: “Even when I, as an educated person using the right words was saying what needed to happen, (he) didn’t want to do anything for us even though we had a (health insurance) card.”
She said that Native Americans feel discriminated especially in areas such as Dakotas and Southwest where there are tribal populations. According to the NPR poll, Native Americans experience more prejudice in regions where there are minorities. As Moss said in the areas where American Indians are not a majority “people don’t expect to see American Indians; they think they are from days gone by, and so you are misidentified. And that’s another form of discrimination.”
Furthermore, American Indians are usually a part of a group who struggles with poverty, and they often live in rural areas with not a lot health care providers.
Huntington’s disease – Is there a cure?
For the first time, the defect that causes Huntington’s disease has been corrected. A drug injected into spinal fluid has safely lowered levels of toxic proteins in the patients’ brains. According to the research team from University College London, there is a hope that the deadly disease could be stopped. If this is true, that would be the most significant breakthrough in the area of neurodegenerative diseases for the past 50 years.
Huntington’s disease is often explained as a devastating combination of Parkinson’s, motor neuron disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Peter Allen, who has Huntington’s disease said: “You end up in almost a vegetative state, it’s a horrible end.”
The death of brains cells is unstoppable affecting patients’ movement, memory, behavior and their ability to think clearly. Huntington usually affects people in their 30s and 40s leaving patients with 10 to 20 years of life.
Huntington’s disease is caused by an error in the section called the huntingtin gene. On the trail of testing this experimental drug, 46 patients participated. The results were reduced level of Huntington in the brains. Doctors are careful with their research, and they are still not calling this drug a cure. They need long-term data which will prove that lowering a level of Huntington will significantly change the course of this devastating disease. Spinal fluid has safely lowered levels of toxic proteins in the patients’ brains.