Tuesday 21 February 2023

The Child Opportunity Index

The Child Opportunity Index (COI) was developed in 2014 to measure and map "the quality of resources and conditions that matter for children to develop in a healthy way" in the neighbourhoods they grow up, and to spark conversations about inequality and encourage actions to increase equity. In 2020, COI 2.0 was launched including updated data (via) from 29 neighbourhood-level indicators covering three domains: education (quality and access to early childhood education, social resources related to educational achievement), health and environment (access to healthy food and green space, pollution from industry, exposure to extreme heat), social and economic domain.

Good schools, parks, playgrounds, healthy food, clean air, safe housing, health care are some aspects crucial for children to become healthy adults. In the United States, many children live in these "high opportunity" neighbourhoods that provide access to the conditions mentioned before. Many, however, live in "low opportunity" neighbourhoods, many of these "many" being Black, Hispanic and Native American children (via).

For example, (...) in the Milwaukee metro the typical White child enjoys a neighborhood with a Child Opportunity Score of 85, while the typical Black child lives in a neighborhood with a score of only 6. As another point of comparison, this racial gap in Milwaukee represents about four opportunity levels (the maximum possible): the typical Black child lives in a very low-opportunity neighborhood, while the typical White child lives in a very high-opportunity neighborhood. (via)

As of 2017...

While only 9 percent of white children live in the 20 percent of neighborhoods ranked as lowest in opportunity, 32 percent of Hispanic and 40 percent of black children live in such neighborhoods. These disparities remain after controlling for children’s own poverty status. Looking just at poor children, 22 percent of white children live in the 20 percent of neighborhoods ranked as lowest in opportunity, but 45 percent of Hispanic and 57 percent of black children live in such neighborhoods (...). As in our analysis of neighborhoods by poverty status, we find that racial/ethnic inequities in neighborhood opportunities for children are larger in metro areas with higher levels of segregation. (McArdle & Acevedo-Garcia, 2017:5)

Summing up... 

Segregation is not benign. The neighborhoods where children live and grow are both separate and greatly unequal along racial/ethnic lines in ways that have profound impacts on opportunities for healthy child development and wellbeing. The differences in neighborhood characteristics and opportunities between racial/ethnic groups are dramatic not just on average, but for large majorities of their populations. (McArdle & Acevedo-Garcia, 2017:4)

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- McArdle, N. & Acevedo-Garcia, D. (2017). Consequences of Segregation for Children's Opportunity and Wellbeing; via
- photograph by Gordon Parks (Alabama, 1956) via and via

Monday 20 February 2023

Diagnosing Alzheimer's Disease: Black vs White Patients

In the U.S., Black Americans are about 1.5 to 2 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's or related dementias than whites are. Nevertheless, fewer Black than white Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer's or related dementias. In a study carried out by Lennon et al. (2022), 15 years (ranging from 2005 to 2020) of data on 5.700 Black and 31.225 white participants were tracked. While 36.1% of white participants were diagnosed with Alzheimer's, only 26.8% of Black participants received the diagnosis. Relative to white participants, Black participants had 35% lower odds of having the diagnosis at the initial visit (via).

Black study participants showed higher rates concerning cognitive impairment (particularly processing speed, language, executive function) than white participants, higher rates of hypertension and diabetes - in other words, more potential risk factors for Alzheimer's. In addition, they were twice as likely to experience delusions and hallucinations and generally more likely to show symptoms such as abnormal sleep, appetite or eating changes, irritability, agitation or aggression.

According to the research team, the results are further evidence that - compared to white patients - Black patients usually need more severe clinical presentations to receive a diagnosis of dementia from physicians. The results are backed by the tendency found in numerous studies showing that Black individuals are only diagnosed with Alzheimer's or related dementias when the disease process is more advanced.

Apart from the differences in diagnostic thresholds applied by providers, the scientists believe that these trends are partly due to social attitudes within Black communities in which memory problems are viewed as a normal part of ageing and medical treatment is only sought when neuropsychiatric symptoms (hallucinations, delusions, personality changes) are encountered. 

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- Lennon, J. C., Aita, S. L., Del Bene, V. A., Rhoads, T., Resch, Z. J., Eloi, J. M. Walker, K. A. (2022). Black and White individuals differ in dementia prevalence, risk factors, and symptomatic presentation. Alzheimer's & Dementia, The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, 18(8), 1461-1471.
- photograph by Gordon Parks via

Friday 17 February 2023

Quoting Matilda Joslyn Gage

"The women of today are the thoughts of their mothers and grandmothers, embodied and made alive. They are active, capable, determined and bound to win. They have one-thousand generations back of them… Millions of women dead and gone are speaking through us today."

photograph by Reg Innell (1970, Women's liberation demonstration at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto) via

Monday 13 February 2023

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky's Frankfurt Kitchen

"They thought that I would starve to death. Nobody could imagine hiring a woman to build a house in 1916 — not even myself."

Schütte-Lihotzky (1897-2000) was born in Vienna and became the first female student of the so-called Kunstgewerbeschule, now known as the University of Applied Arts Vienna. As a student she worked on projects on affordable housing for the working class and decided to dedicate her career to reducing some burdens through efficient residential design. In an early project of hers, she designed flats for single, working women. 

When the social housing development programme "New Frankfurt" was launched in the German city of Frankfurt, Schütte-Lihotzky was invited to join - which she did creating her magnum opus, the first fitted kitchen, the "Frankfurt Kitchen" (aged 101, she said: "If I had known that everyone would keep talking about nothing else, I would never have built that damn kitchen!"). With this kitchen she aimed to make life easier for those (mainly women) using it. At the time, kitchens in working-class housing were part of the living room which often also served as a bedroom. The separated kitchen was small but efficient, the efficiency was drawn from kitchens in scientific laboratories and railway cars. The design was also based on interviews with housewives and time-motion studies of their work to reduce the number of steps needed to be taken between different tasks. About 10.000 of these kitchens were built in Frankfurt alone. Later, feminists linked Schütte-Lihotzky with the subjugation of women by the kitchen. Schütte-Lihotzky, however, wanted to reduce the hours and burden of women's unpaid labour at home: 
"I was convinced that the economic independence and self-realization of women would be a common good, and that therefore the further rationalization of household labor was imperative."

Schütte-Lihotzky was an ardent antifascist who joined the resistance against the Nazis. She was imprisoned in 1941 and sentenced to death but was lucky and returned to Vienna after the liberation in 1945 (via).

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photographs of Schütte-Lihotzky in her home via and via and via