Racial Bias Limits Diagnosis of ADHD in Black Women GirlsKaiser Health News

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Miché Aaron has always been a high achiever. The 29-year-old is in her third year of a planetary sciences doctoral program at Johns Hopkins University, where she researches minerals found on Mars. She’s a former NASA space grant scholar hopes to become an astronaut one day.

But last year, Aaron was barely keeping it together — missing classes, late on assignments struggling to explain that she understood the required material to pass her qualifying exams. Her academic adviser warned that if she didn’t get professional help she would flunk.

“I simply thought I was a lazy student I needed to try harder,” Aaron said, wiping the tears behind her thick, black-framed glasses.

Then she was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder it all made sense.

For many Black women like Aaron, finally having that answer comes with both relief grief after years of suffering being misunderstood. Already subject to unique discrimination at the intersection of gender race, Black girls with ADHD often remain undiagnosed because their symptoms are mischaracterized. Signs of inattentiveness or impulsivity, two main features of the disorder, could be mistaken for laziness or defiance. And the longer these girls aren’t diagnosed treated, the more their problems are likely to worsen as they grow into adults.

While the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health showed that 6.1 million children ages 2 to 17 in the United States have received a diagnosis for ADHD at some point, millions more adults are estimated to have it, too — either having grown up with a diagnosis or being diagnosed later in life, if at all.

ADHD doesn’t discriminate by gender or race, but white boys are still more likely to be diagnosed treated for the condition than anyone else. Experts advocates say this leads to an inequity in care that hurts girls of any background children of color of any gender.

Over the past few decades, mental health experts researchers have started to understhow ADHD manifests differently depending on gender, as girls with the condition tend to seem more inattentive forgetful while boys tend to seem more hyperactive disruptive. The reasons Black children ethnic minorities are overlooked range from racial bias in schools lack of access to care, to stigma distrust of educators health providers based on past discrimination.

Paul Morgan, director of the Center for Educational Disparities Research at Penn State, is the lead author of multiple studies showing that the disparities in school start early. By kindergarten, Black children in the U.S. are 70% less likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis than otherwise similar white children.

A 2016 study found that by 10th grade white children are nearly twice as likely to receive a diagnosis for ADHD as Black children. Lead author Dr. Tumaini Rucker Coker, head of general pediatrics at Seattle Children’s Hospital a top researcher at its Center for Child Health, Behavior Development, said that, while her study didn’t look at underdiagnosis of Black girls, federal Education Department data shows telling signs of racial gender discrimination in diagnosing ADHD: Black girls are six times as likely to be suspended from school as white girls.

Behavior as common as talking back in class could have wildly different consequences, depending on how it’s interpreted, Coker explained. For Black girls, it’s often viewed as “intimidation” of a teacher.

“When there’s ‘bad behavior’ you’re a white girl, you get all the benefit of the doubt,” Coker said. “On the opposite spectrum, you get zero benefit of the doubt as a Black girl.”

Over time, studies have shown that ADHD, especially in girls, can lead to increased rates of anxiety depression, risky behavior, drug use, self-harm suicide attempts. Researchers therapists said they are especially worried about those undiagnosed or undertreated.

Being diagnosed treated, on the other hand, has many upsides. Medication therapy, even behavioral training for parents of patients, have proven to be highly effective in managing ADHD. However, access to such resources depends not only on a diagnosis, but also trust buy-in from families.

René Brooks, who lives outside Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was diagnosed three times — twice as a child, when her school tested her without parental permission. Her mother rejected the idea of her daughter, who is Black, being labeled, distrusting a system she feared wanted to “drug up minority children.”

The third time Brooks was diagnosed, she was 25 on the brink of losing her job at one of the biggest insurers in the state because she couldn’t keep up with the workload. After starting medication, 18 years after her first diagnosis, she said her brain felt like it “switched on” she was able to be more productive than she ever imagined possible.

Still, as a Black woman with ADHD, Brooks felt alone. “It’s very isolating to sit at that intersection because no one’s there, or so we thought,” she said.

She started a blog called “Black Girl, Lost Keys,” which educates empowers Black women with ADHD, created Unicorn Squad, Black People of Marginalized Genders With ADHD, a private support group on Facebook with more than 2,200 members who share the feelings that come with the diagnosis.

Aaron said finding the Facebook group talking with other Black women with ADHD during the weekly virtual meetings made it easier to accept her diagnosis. They also commiserate about the all-too-common racialized slights known as microaggressions that she others face — whether it’s being dismissed for showing emotion as an “angry Black woman” or having to fight for accommodations at school or being doubted at pharmacies when trying to fill prescriptions for stimulants that treat ADHD under the assumption they’re addicts trying to misuse the controlled substances, sold under brnames such as Adderall, Concerta Ritalin.

“I simply thought I was a lazy student I needed to try harder,” Aaron says. Then she was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder it all made sense.(Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University)

Dr. Loucresie Rupert, a child-adolescent psychiatrist, adult ADHD coach mental health advocate in Winona, Minnesota, also blogs about her personal experience with ADHD. She recognized her symptoms during medical school — problems studying, missing appointments, forgetting to pay bills — was officially diagnosed during her medical residency, after failing a two-day-long licensing exam. The latter was a wake-up call. “I’ve never failed at anything in my life,” said Rupert.

As a Black woman, Rupert understands why her Black female patients are so grateful to find her. It’s hard enough to find a local psychiatrist who is covered by one’s insurance specializes in ADHD, let alone a Black female psychiatrist who has ADHD herself.

Rupert said she, too, sees a Black female psychiatrist, who shares some of the same experiences sensitivities, which makes a big difference. “It’s taken my healing my ability to function to the next level, because you don’t have to explain as many things.” For example, when discussing police brutality, she said, “I don’t have to spell out how exhausted or tired or traumatized I am.”

Coker Morgan agreed that culturally linguistically sensitive screenings are key to getting more people diagnosed. Also critical: culturally relevant groups like the Unicorn Squad.

A year a half after being diagnosed with ADHD, Aaron said the treatment she’s received, including medication, therapy strategies for learning organization, has changed her life. She has since found out she also has dyslexia a language processing disorder, two learning disabilities that commonly occur with ADHD.

Far from flunking out, she’s now thriving academically publishing her research on Martian minerals. She wants to help other Black women going through similar struggles, just as Brooks’ Unicorn Squad helped her.

“When you start receiving treatment, the biggest impact is to your self-esteem, because you’re no longer concerned that you’re just lazy, or that you’re just unmotivated,” said Brooks. “You know this is a problem, problems have solutions, whereas character flaws do not.”

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Latest news LIVE: Houses held up over Pegasus row, Congress seeks JPC probe

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Parliament’s Monsoon Session got off to a stormy start Monday as the Opposition, protesting over several issues including farm laws fuel price hike, prevented Prime Minister Narendra Modi from introducing his newly inducted Union ministers, a customary practice. The ruckus ensured that the Lok Sabha had to be adjourned multiple times before ending the day without transacting any major business. Today, both the Houses of the Parliament will meet again for Day 2 of the Monsoon session at 11.


The Centre will brief opposition parties on the Covid-19 situation in the country strategies being implemented to deal with it today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also participate would inform the leaders about the policies of the government.

On the global front, Jeff Bezos is all set to fly to the edge of space, beyond the Karman line, today, along with three others, aboard his company Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. The Karman line, 100 km above the ground, is the internationally recognised boundary of space. The company will launch its first astronaut flight, NS-16, from Launch Site One in West Texas.


Stay tuned for the latest news of the day.

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Cement shares on a roll; ACC, Ambuja, UltraTech, JK Lakshmi hit new highs

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Shares of cement manufacturers were on a roll, in an otherwise weak market, on Tuesday. Most of the frontline companies’ stocks were trading higher, hitting new highs on the BSE in the intra-day trade after ACC Mangalam Cement reported healthy results for the quarter ended June 2021.


UltraTech Cement, ACC, Ambuja Cements, Birla Corporation, JK Lakshmi Cement, Sagar Cements, Shree Digvijay Cement The Ramco Cement hit their respective new highs traded higher between 3 per cent 9 per cent on the BSE. In comparison, the S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.63 per cent, or 331 points, at 52,223 points at 12:47 pm.





Shares of ACC, for instance, hit a new high of Rs 2,338 as they rallied 9 per cent on the BSE in the intra-day trade today after the company reported strong operational performance for the second quarter ended June 2021 (Q2CY21). The company’s Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization) margins expanded 233 basis points (bps) quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) to 22.4 per cent due to higher realisations. On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, Ebitda margins improved by 200 bps from 20.8 per cent in Q1CY20. READ ABOUT IT HERE

The company’s net sales during the quarter increased 51 per cent YoY at Rs 3,810 crore over the previous year quarter. Ebitda during the quarter was up by 65 per cent YoY at Rs 869 crore. The profit after tax (PAT) more-than-doubled to Rs 569 crore from Rs 271 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.


The management expects strong demrecovery led by the government’s focus on large-scale infra projects affordable housing, coupled with a revival in industrial capex, driven by the implementation of the Production-Linked Incentive scheme.


“Amid concern over higher cost pressure, the company managed to improve its margins during the quarter backed by higher realisations while sales volume broadly remained in line with our estimates. Overall, the performance has remained better than our estimates,” ICICI Securities said in a note.


Meanwhile, shares of Mangalam Cement too hit a new high of Rs 458.90, up 10 per cent in the intra-day trade today, having surged nearly 17 per cent in the past two trading days. The company, on Sunday, July 18, had reported 189 per cent YoY jump in its net profit at Rs 39.94 crore in June 2021 quarter (Q1FY22), as against Rs 13.80 crore in the year-ago quarter. Revenue from operations grew 57 per cent YoY at Rs 355 crore.




The cement industry players seem to be cautiously optimistic on the impact of second wave of Covid-19 on the cement industry. The demand-supply scenario in Q1-FY22 in particular was affected owing to the recent spike in Covid-19 caseload consequent imposition of restrictions from April 2021 onwards that slowed down the construction activities in turn led to fall in demfor the commodity. In addition to this, growth in rural demhad aided the demfor cement in the last fiscal year. However, that may not be the case this year as rural areas too seem to be affected due to the second wave of Covid-19, CARE Ratings said in July month sector update.


While states have started lifting restrictions in a phased manner from June onwards, demis expected to gain traction on a gradual basis will be driven primarily by government spending on infrastructure coupled with pick-up in demfrom both rural urban markets as the situation evolves based on the containment of the virus the progress in the vaccine inoculation drive. However, it is to be noted that the possibility of a third wave of Covid-19 in the near future might affect the industry dynamics again, CARE Ratings said.

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Covid LIVE: Follow orders given in Kanwar Yatra case, SC tells Kerala govt

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Photo: Reuters

Coronavirus updates: India records 30,093 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours while the deaths from the virus dipped to a 111-day low at 374. The total caseload stands at 31,174,322 death toll at 414,482. The Centre will brief opposition parties on the Covid-19 situation in the country strategies being implemented to deal with it today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also participate would inform the leaders about the policies of the government.


Kerala reported 9,931 new infections, Maharashtra 6,017, followed by Andhra Pradesh (1,628), Tamil Nadu (1,971), Karnataka (1,291), Delhi (36).


From the northeastern states, Assam reported 1,797 new cases Manipur 774.


The five most affected states by total cases are Maharashtra (6,220,207), Kerala (3,170,868), Karnataka (2,885,238), Tamil Nadu (2,537,373), Andhra Pradesh (1,941,724).

World coronavirus update: Covid-19 is continuing to spread around the world, with 191,686,746 confirmed cases 4,112,531 deaths across nearly 200 countries recorded since China reported its first cases in December 2019. The US remains the worst-hit country with 35,015,899 cases, followed by India, Brazil, Russia France.

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MARKETS: Sensex drops 450 points, Nifty gives up 15,600; banks, metals skid

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LIVE market updates: Domestic equity markets extended their losses were trading nearly 1 per cent down on Tuesday as investors turned pessimist over rising Delta variant of Covid-19 cases globally, fear of possible lockdown impact of rising inflation on economic recovery.

The S&P BSE Sensex quoted at 52,096 levels in early deals, down 490 points while the Nifty was at 15,587, down 165 points. In the broader markets, the BSE MidCap SmallCap indices tumbled over 1 per cent each.


In global markets, equities fell in Japan, Australia South Korea on Tuesday but the drops were orderly. Japan’s Topix index fell 1%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.9% South Korea’s Kospi index fell lost 0.4%. S&P 500 Nasdaq futures, meanwhile, gained 0.4% each.




Earnings today

Thirty-three companies, including Asian Paints, Bajaj Finance, Crisil Network 18 are slated to post their June quarter results today.

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