Rachel A Whitmer

Rachel A Whitmer is an epidemiologist at the University of California, Davis.[12]

Whitmer is a professor in the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences and chief of the UC Davis Division of Epidemiology.[3]Her research focuses on using epidemiological methods to reduce inequities in brain aging in racial and ethnic minority groups, those with diabetes, and individuals age 90 or older.[3]She is the principal investigator of four National Institutes of Health-funded cohort studies on brain aging.[3]She has used the multiphasic data, paired with comprehensive data from Kaiser Permanente's electronic health record, to identify midlife dementia risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, depression, cholesterol, obesity and others.[4]She has been concerned in several studies that accounted for genetic and illness risks when comparing insanity in white and black Americans.[5]She has an extensive research portfolio in aging epidemiology, specifically in predictors of cognitive decline and dementia, and population-level risk factors including metabolic, cardiovascular and inflammatory factors.[6]

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University of California, Davis


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Recent events

Research Suggests Racism Could Put Black People At Higher Risk Of Dementia

Dr. Rachel Whitmer, professor and chief of the epidemiology department at the University of California, Davis, says while scientists don’t fully understand the mechanisms at work, they do know that studies have shown Black Americans are up to twice as likely as non-Hispanic white people to have dementia. “We also know Black Americans are also more likely to carry a lot of the risk factors for dementia,” she says. For example, researchers have seen higher rates of hypertension in Black Americans, which put them at a higher risk for dementia.[13]


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Women's Reproductive History Tied to Dementia Risk

Womens' reproductive history was significantly associated with their risk for dementia, researchers reported here. In an analysis of nearly 15,000 women, various reproductive factors, including number of children, miscarriages, and age of menarche, were all associated with a women's risk for dementia later in life, according to Paola Gilsanz, ScD, of Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland, and Rachel Whitmer, PhD, of the University of California Davis. Furthermore, a history of miscarriages was tied to a higher risk for dementia, with each additional miscarriage tied to an 8% higher risk for dementia . Women who experienced an early menarche - - specifically at age ≤9 years - - saw a slightly higher risk for dementia compared with women who experienced menarche between the ages of ages 10-13; however, this association wasn't statistically significant .[1112]


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Women's dementia risk increased by midlife hy...

Researchers have uncovered a possible sex difference in how blood pressure affects dementia risk, after finding that women who get hypertension in their 40s are likelier to develop the condition. An array of studies have also suggested a link between high blood pressure and increased risk of dementia. For the new research, study co-author Rachel A. Whitmer, Ph.D., of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, and colleagues sought to determine whether the link between hypertension and dementia risk varies by age and sex. The study results revealed that women who had high blood pressure in their 30s showed no greater risk of dementia than those whose blood pressure remained normal.[8910]


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