(This story initially appeared on UMBC Insights).
Danielle L. Beatty Moody, an assistant professor of psychology, has received a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The five-year, $600,000 project will investigate the ways in which racial disparities in exposure to early life social disadvantage promote accelerated diseases and disorders related to the brain including stroke, dementia, and cognitive decline in African Americans across the span of the lifetime.
“Pronounced racial disparities are observed across multiple clinical and subclinical brain health endpoints in African Americans compared to Whites and may be attributable, in part, to accelerated age-related disease processes,” NIH stated in a public health relevance statement announcing the award.
“The interrelations among life course social disadvantage, accelerated aging, and brain health endpoints have been grossly understudied and are crucial to developing appropriate prevention and intervention strategies geared toward reducing and ultimately eliminating race-related health disparities in brain aging,” Dr. Beatty Moody explained in the award announcement.
Beatty Moody, as the primary investigator of the project, will work with 300 participants in the study to determine whether early life social disadvantage is related to MRI-indicators of brain pathology predictive of future stroke and cognitive decline and if they are more pronounced in African American than White adults. She will also research potential psychosocial, behavioral, and biomedical mediators of those associations.
Professor Beatty Moody’s research interests focus on cardiovascular disease, health and racial/ethnic disparities, psychosocial stressors, socioeconomic status, and discrimination. Read more about her research on the psychology department website. Read the Career Development Award announcement on the NIH website.