Departments: From the Editor
Since Neurology Now debuted in the spring of 2005, its popularity has grown each year. This is largely thanks to readers like you spreading the word and telling your friends and family about the stories you've read. It's also partly due to its unparalleled credibility since every column is vetted by neurologist members of the American Academy of Neurology who are experts in the field and play an active role on our advisory board. It's also a credit to contributors who honor us by sharing their personal stories of neurologic illness.
This month, I am proud to announce the debut of a special issue of Neurology Now in Spanish. This publication stemmed from our desire to reach all people with neurologic disease, including members of the Spanish-speaking community. Today about 53 million people living in the United States are Hispanic, and about one-third are not proficient in English.
Non-white Hispanics have a higher risk for neurologic problems including stroke, their fourth-leading cause of death. Three out of 10 Hispanics also have high blood pressure, one out of six has diabetes, and many are unaware they have these conditions that place them at high risk for stroke and other neurologic conditions. Hispanics are also one and a half times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than whites. In fact, by 2050, the number of Hispanics with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias could jump to as high as 1.3 million.
Such racial and ethnic health disparities are widely recognized to lead to poor health outcomes, a serious situation that the Office of Minority Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services is committed to addressing. In fact, this April has been designated National Minority Health Month, and federal, state, and local partners across the country are calling for a renewed commitment to achieving health equity.
One way to meet this challenge is to ensure access to trustworthy medical information. Research has found that fewer than 50 percent of Hispanics have a regular doctor, and even when they have one, barriers to communication lead to poor compliance to treatment regimens. This makes the need for informative material about neurologic disease even more important.
If you have Spanish-speaking friends and family, please tell them about our special issue. It will be available for free on http://NeurologyNow.com and on the apps for the iPad and Android devices. And if they live in Boston, ask them to visit us at the Neurology Now tent at the 2017 Brain Health Fair on Friday, April 21, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, where they can get copies of the Spanish issue as well as additional materials in both English and Spanish about many neurologic conditions. We'll also have neurologists fluent in Spanish who can answer their questions—and a special gift for visitors.
As always, we look forward to hearing from you…in English or in Spanish!
Orly Avitzur, MD, MBA, FAAN