Showing posts with label LGBTQ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBTQ. Show all posts

July 22, 2019

LGBTQ, Alzheimers,Seizures,Sleep Meds and More {Conference on Alzheimers in Los Angeles}

It was a big week for Alzheimer’s research as researchers from around the world descended on Los Angeles to attend the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) this week. There were stories about how infectious agents may be involved in the disease, genes linked to women’s Alzheimer’s risk, and the identification of new biomarkers that may lead to advanced diagnostics.
Here's a look at some of the stories you may have missed.
Alzheimer’s and Epilepsy
People with Alzheimer’s disease have a significantly higher incidence of epileptic seizures. In fact, they have six-and-a-half times more than people without dementia. Research presented by several different researchers explored the connection between Alzheimer’s and seizures. A study presented by Ruby Castilla-Puentas, director, clinical research, neuroscience at JanssenPharmaceuticals, a Johnson & Johnson company, along with Miguel Habeych at the University of Cincinnati, found that individuals with dementia had a higher risk of new-onset or first-time seizures. They postulate that some of the seizures may be caused by the drugs used to treat dementia, as well as other conditions associated with both seizures and dementia, but it’s clear that the risk is much higher for this patient group.

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Some Sleep Medications Increase Dementia Risk
Several studies linked to sleep medications, sleep problems and Alzheimer’s were presented. Sleep disturbances are common in Alzheimer’s and other dementia patients, affecting up to 45% of dementia patients. One study presented by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that frequent use of sleep medications might increase dementia risk, but that it varies by race. The study found that study participants who reported “often” or “almost always” taking sleep medications were 43% more likely to develop dementia compared to people who reported “never or rarely” taking them. The risk was also only observed in white adults. There is also a gender variation, as reported by a study by researchers from Utah State University. Women who used sleep medication had 3.6 times increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared to those who did not.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, also presented research looking at whether it was possible to improve circadian regulation by resetting the biological clock, called chronotherapy, in adults with mild cognitive impairment. The clinical trial did find that the chronotherapy was effective in improving sleep quality in the patient group.
Eisai Co. Presented Research on Tau Microtubule Quantification
The accumulation of two different abnormal proteins, beta-amyloid and tau, is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Eisai presented data on a new antibody to tau, E2814. It is believed that tau spreads through the brain of Alzheimer’s patients by way of synaptically-connected pathways, which is mediated by tau seeds that contain the microtubule-binding region of tau (MTBR). E2814 targets MTBR-containing tau species, preventing the buildup and spread of tau seeds, which might slow the spread of the disease.
Aerobic Exercise and Preventing Alzheimer’s
Generally, lifestyle behaviors that are good for the heart are good for the brain, and that has led to researchers noting that keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check via diet and exercise and appropriate medications may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers with Wake Forest University School of Medicine presented research from the EXERT study to determine if exercise can protect from memory and cognition problems associated with Alzheimer’s. The EXERT study takes 300 people at high risk for Alzheimer’s and randomly splits them into two groups for 18 months. Half perform aerobic exercise, the other half stretching and flexibility exercises. They participate in memory and cognition tests, as well as brain blood flow, atrophy and protein testing. The study is ongoing and is still looking for another 100 people between the ages of 65 and 89 who don’t regularly exercise who have mild cognitive impairment.
Increased Risk of Alzheimer’s in the LGBT Community
Research presented at the AAIC meeting reported finding higher rates of subjective cognitive decline among lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) Americans compared to cisgender heterosexual individuals. The trial used self-reported data on subjective cognitive decline (SCD). The research presented by Jason Flatt from UCSF found that 14% of participants reported subjective cognitive decline compared to 10% among the cisgender heterosexual participants. Even after adjusting for income, age, and race, the LGBT group was 29% more likely to report a subjective cognitive decline. The connection is undetermined, although the researchers speculate that it is related to higher rates of depression, stress, inability to work and a lack of regular healthcare access in the LGBT population.
Another group reported on the effectiveness of a first-of-its-kind Alzheimer’s intervention for LGBT older individuals with dementia. They identified unique risk factors of LGBT older adults with dementia, including more likely to live alone (almost 60%), not partnered or married (65%), no children (72%) and no caregiver (59%) compared to older non-LGBT adults with dementia. The intervention study looked at individualized programs of exercise, and behavioral and coping strategies to improve physical function, independence, and quality of life.

November 6, 2018

2018 Midterms and Nine LGBTQ Congressional Candidates You Should Know👀

Representation by people from the LGBTQ community is still sparse within the U.S. government, especially for some of the most powerful positions.
Congress, in particular, has remained largely white, male, cisgender, and straight for the majority of the country’s history. And in the Senate, there’s been a slow change, with politicians like Illinois’s Carol Moseley Braun, who became the first woman of color elected to the Senate, in 1992, and Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, who became the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate, in 2012.
Fortunately, the range of candidates running for and being elected to government positions has become more diverse, with a historic number of LGBTQ candidates who've won primaries this year. Now, ahead of the November 6 midterms, there are more LGBTQ candidates running than ever before. Below, we introduce some of these candidates and explain what you should know about them.

Katie Hill, 31 — 25th Congressional District, California

  Katie Hill for Congress
Katie Hill is a bisexual woman who is vying to unseat anti-LGBTQ Rep. Steve Knight in California. Hill’s platform prioritizes advancing LGBTQ equality, finding solutions to homelessness, and advancing the expansion of Medicaid and other health care programs in California. She is a Democrat and also comes from a background of service, having run a homeless services agency. 

She’s also talked at length about her experiences with being pregnant at 18 years old and the importance of a woman’s right to choose. Hill is running in a traditionally Republican district, where Republican representatives have been the majority for years. 
[[Sharice Davids, 38 — 3rd Congressional District, Kansas]] If elected to represent the 3rd district in Kansas, Democrat Sharice Davids could become one of two first Native American women in Congress (the other being Deb Haaland of New Mexico). With a victory following November 6, Davids would also be making history as Kansas's first openly LGBTQ representative.
Davids participated in the White House Fellowship program in 2016 during Obama’s presidency. She’s also a former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter — so she’s no stranger to tough fights.

Lauren Baer, 37 — 18th Congressional District, Florida
Barrier-breaking Lauren Baer, who’s running in Florida’s 18th district as a Democrat, could become Florida’s first-ever openly LGBTQ congressperson if elected. Baer is running to make Florida better for the most marginalized communities and has focused on championing quality, affordable health care, improving public schools, and combating environmental issues.
She also served as an official in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2017, acting as a senior adviser to secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, as well as to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

 The second time could be the charm for Angie Craig, who first ran against Republican Representative Jason Lewis in 2016 and lost by only two points. If elected, Craig would become Minnesota's first openly LGBTQ representative. She is running as a Democrat.
Craig has spent more than 20 years working in the health care field. Now, she says she wants to use her experience to fix health care systems that currently don’t prioritize or help the most marginalized people, and to provide more opportunities for health care expansion so that all families in Minnesota have access to services. 
Jamie McLeod-Skinner, 51 — 2nd Congressional District, Oregon
Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a Democrat, was the first openly lesbian person elected to the Santa Clara City Council in California, in 2004. If elected in Oregon on November 6, she will become the state’s first openly LGBTQ congressperson. She believes it’s way past time to provide health care for all people and is striving to rebuild the middle class, as well as to focus on the needs of rural communities.
Ultimately, she’s hoping to unseat a lifelong politician, Republican Representative Greg Walden, who has been re-elected every time since first winning Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District, in 1998.

 Chris Pappas, 38 — 1st Congressional District, New Hampshire

Chris Pappas, the Democratic candidate from New Hampshire, is openly gay and already heavily involved in local politics, having represented his district on the New Hampshire Executive Council for the past five years. Pappas supports universal health care, reproductive health, and family planning, and has championed strong public school systems as the foundation of society. Pappas’s district is traditionally a swing district, so his win would be a big deal both for New Hampshire and for the country as a whole. The district, which has toggled between Democratic and Republican representatives every election for the past decade, could have its politics transformed by whichever candidate wins.
 Kyrsten Sinema, 42 — 9th Congressional District, Arizona
A Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema is the current congressional representative in Arizona, serving for the past five years. She’s also the first openly bisexual Senate nominee ever. Sinema has prioritized expanding access to quality, affordable health care, creating educational opportunities, helping veterans receive benefits and creating good-paying jobs for people in Arizona.
Now, according to her platform, she has plans to fix a “dysfunctional Washington,” as well as to continue to make good on the promises and issues she’s prioritized since taking office.

My Approved PortraitsIncumbent candidate Tammy Baldwin was the first openly gay person elected to the Senate, in 2012 (as well as the state’s first woman to be elected to serve in the Senate). Before that, she served in the House of Representatives for 14 years. During her career, Baldwin has important health care reform initiatives, like the rule that allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26. She has also pushed for action to be taken to address the opioid epidemic.
During this race, Baldwin has upheld these same values in her current platform, and is also prioritizing issues like fighting for debt-free higher-education opportunities for students.

Mark Pocan, 54 — 2nd Congressional District, Wisconsin
Also an incumbent in Wisconsin, Mark Pocan is currently one of only seven LGBTQ members in Congress. Pocan serves as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in addition to the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
Among other issues, Pocan is pushing to increase social-safety-net programs that help families, including unemployment compensation, aid to increase access to higher-education assistance, health care reform, and bolstering Social Security for seniors. Pocan has most recently introduced legislation that would terminate the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and instead “implement a humane immigration enforcement system that upholds the dignity of all individuals,” according to a press release from his office.


Running! is a Teen Vogue series on getting 

involved in the government.

December 22, 2017

Report Highlights Dangers of Religious Exemption Laws for LGBT Elders

 Everybody Ages and some days are longer for some than for others


[NEW YORK, NY] The Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project (PRPCP) at Columbia Law School, and SAGE, the nation’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT elders, released a new report, Dignity Denied: Religious Exemptions and LGBT Elder ServicesTo download the report, visit
The report highlights the unique ways in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) elders are harmed by a growing number of laws and policies aimed at exempting religious organizations and individuals from following nondiscrimination and civil rights laws and policies.
By 2050, the number of people older than 65 will double to 83.7 million, and there are currently more than 2.7 million LGBT adults who are 50 years or older living across the country. LGBT elders face unique challenges to successful aging stemming from current and past structural and legal discrimination because of their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their age, and other factors like race. These risk factors are exacerbated by recent efforts at the local, state, and federal levels to allow those with religious or moral objections to be exempt from nondiscrimination laws, leaving LGBT older adults vulnerable to increased risk for discrimination and mistreatment.
According to the report released by MAP, PRPCP at Columbia Law School, and SAGE, religiously affiliated organizations provide a majority of the services LGBT elders rely on for their most basic needs. LGBT older adults, like many older Americans in the United States, access a network of service providers for health care, community programming and congregate meals, food and income assistance, and housing, ranging from independent living to skilled in-home nursing. Approximately 85% of nonprofit continuing-care retirement communities are affiliated with a religion. Religiously affiliated facilities also provide the greatest number of affordable housing units that serve low-income seniors. Finally, 14% of hospitals in the United States are religiously affiliated, accounting for 17% of all the country’s hospital beds.
While many of these facilities provide quality care for millions of older adults, there exists a coordinated nationwide effort to pass religious exemption laws and policies, and file lawsuits that would allow individuals, businesses, and even government contractors and grantees to use religion as a basis for discriminating against a range of communities, including LGBT elders.
Dignity Denied: Religious Exemptions and LGBT Elder Services outlines myriad federal and state efforts to allow individuals, businesses, and organizations to opt out of following nondiscrimination laws as long as they cite a religious objection. While most providers will do the right thing when it comes to serving their clients, some will only do so when required by law. The report concludes that because so many service providers are religiously affiliated, these laws pose a considerable threat to the health and well-being of LGBT older adults.
In conjunction with the release of the report, a panel discussion was held on Friday, December 15, at Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University featuring speakers from Center for Faith and Community Partnerships, The LGBT & HIV Project, American Civil Liberties Union, The Movement Advancement Project, The New Jewish Home, New York City Commission on Human Rights, Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, Columbia Law School, the Union Theological Seminary, and SAGE.
“This report and the amicus brief SAGE filed in the Masterpiece Cake case clearly demonstrate that personal religious beliefs should never be a license to discriminate against LGBT people or anybody else,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE. “That’s why we are bringing together aging experts, religious leaders, and our elders to expose the dangers that so-called religious exemptions pose for LGBT elders who need care and services. We must not allow the door of a nursing home or other critical care provider to slam in LGBT elders’ faces just because of who they are or who they love.”
“This important report reveals the many ways in which the privatization of elder services, largely to conservative religiously affiliated providers, leaves LGBT older adults no choice but to obtain care in facilities that do not welcome them,” said Katherine Franke, Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Faculty Director of PRPCP at Columbia University. “The many LGBT elders who are adherents of faith-based traditions themselves suffer a special indignity when they are forced to seek care in settings that deny the dignity of both their LGBT identity and their faith-based beliefs.”
“LGBT older adults already are more likely to be isolated and vulnerable. It is unconscionable that state and federal governments are working to allow providers to deny critical health care services and vital social supports to LGBT older adults simply because of who they are,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project. “Imagine how much harder it would be to reach out for help if you knew the organizations that were supposed to help you could legally reject you, and the government would back them up.”
The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight, and analysis that help speed equality for LGBT people. MAP works collaboratively with LGBT organizations, advocates and funders, providing information, analysis and resources that help coordinate and strengthen efforts for maximum impact. MAP’s policy research informs the public and policymakers about the legal and policy needs of LGBT people and their families.  Learn more at
PRPCP at Columbia Law School’s mission is to bring legal academic expertise to bear on the multiple contexts in which religious liberty rights conflict with or undermine other fundamental rights to equality and liberty. We undertake approaches to the developing law of religion that both respects the importance of religious liberty and recognizes the ways in which too broad an accommodation of these rights threatens Establishment Clause violations and can unsettle a proper balance with other competing fundamental rights. Our work takes the form of legal research and scholarship, public policy interventions, advocacy support, and academic and media publications.
SAGE is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. Headquartered in New York City, with staff across the country, SAGE also coordinates a growing network of affiliates in the United States. Learn more at

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