Equal Access In Bike Share Programs, UW Study To Research Effects Of Fish Oil On Veterans With Alzheimer’s Risk, How Banks Shut The Door On Homeownership For People Of Color

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New reporting reveals that African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately denied mortgage loan compared to white applicants. We talk about how denial of loans feeds into gentrification and perpetuated racism with our guest. We also examine whether equal access can be established in bike share programs across the country, and we learn about a UW study seeking to find out more about how fish oil supplements can slow the onset of Alzheimer’s in veterans at risk.

Featured in this Show

  • Bike-Share Programs: Two-Wheeled Symbols For Gentrification

    On the surface, bike-share programs might seem like something everyone can agree on: it’s a convenient, environmentally friendly way to get around without having to buy a bike or a car.

    But in San Francisco and other cities, bike-share program bicycles have been found with slashed tires, dumped in a lake and even hanging, dismembered and no longer share-able, from a tree. That’s because for some people, bike-share programs have come to represent the systematic exclusion of less affluent people.

    In other words, they’re quick, two-wheeled symbols for gentrification.

    “I live in a predominantly middle-class, predominantly home-owning black and brown neighborhood, and we didn’t get bike-share stations for quite some time in my neighborhood,” said Teresa Wiltz, a journalist with Pew Charitable Trusts’ “Stateline.”

    Wiltz lives in Washington D.C., which launched its bike-share system Capital Bikeshare in 2010. When it first began, it was primarily in touristy parts of town and in more affluent neighborhoods, according to Wiltz. That was in part because it was an experiment, and the city wanted to gauge interest in a bike-share program, she said.

    But many bike-share programs across the U.S. have features that can be barriers to less affluent, would-be users, Wiltz said.

    Those barriers can go beyond what parts of town bike-share stations are placed in. For example, many bike-share programs only allow payment via credit card or smartphone, making it inaccessible to people who don’t have those options.

    Philadelphia is one city that decided to make its bike-share program widely accessible and inclusive from the get-go, Wiltz said.

    Their program — called Indego — launched in 2015 and features stations where people can pay in cash. Riders can get discounts on bike rentals if they receive state benefits, and the program also employs community ambassadors in neighborhoods across the city to help customers use the bikes and learn about the program. They even host digital literacy and cycling classes, Wiltz said.

    Other cities across the country have similar measures in place to make bike-share programs more widely accessible, combating the notion that the programs are tailor-made for the upper-middle class.

    As for Wisconsin, Madison’s bike-share program B-cycle seems to be more popular than ever.

  • Creating Equal Access In Bike Share Programs

    Bike share programs began appearing in large cities around the world over five years ago, largely in downtown or areas attractive to tourists. By now, most sizable cities have a program and more stations have been added. But are these programs designed to be accessible to all? We talk with our guest about different programs for lower income residents and who is really using the share programs.

  • New Study Looks Into Impact Of Fish Oil On Alzheimer's Risk Among Veterans

    A new study is looking into whether fish oil supplements can slow down – or prevent – the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in older veterans.

    The study is focusing on veterans because those who are eligible for Veterans Affairs services have a higher risk for developing dementia, according to Dr. Cindy Carlsson, leader of the study and geriatrics provider at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison.

    “It may be in part because they have greater exposure to traumatic brain injuries and they tend to have higher rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Carlsson.

    They also are more likely to have higher levels of vascular risk factors, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, Carlsson said. All of those pieces add up to a higher risk for people their age among the general population.

    Participants in the study must be between the ages of 50 and 75, and have a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. Some participants will be assigned a high dose of fish oil, called vascepa, and others a mineral oil supplement.

    “We know that there is a lot of data from recent years that things like high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure increase our risk for developing dementia,” Carlsson said. “So what we’re trying to do is see if some of these therapies could help with those risk factors and make a difference in reducing risk for Alzheimer’s.”

    Researchers are concentrating on how the fish oil helps with brain blood flow and how it affects key proteins related to the development of Alzheimer’s, particularly amyloids.

    “We’re focusing on a fish oil that we know helps improve blood flow and helps reduce cholesterol levels, to see if that helps beneficially change some of these markers,” she said.

    MRI scans are then used to test changes in the blood flow to the brain over time, first measured at the baseline, then at 9 and 18 months. Amyloids are also monitored in response to the fish oil.

    Over 5 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and that number is expected to triple by 2050.

    “It will have tremendous effects on the health care system, also on patients and their families,” Carlsson said.

    In 2017, Alzheimer’s and dementia cost the United States $259 billion. By 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association predicts those costs have the potential to reach $1.1 trillion.

    Americans are living longer, and that is the main driver behind the heightened levels of the disease, Carlsson said. To fight it, researchers are centralizing their efforts on preventive measures.

    “If we can reduce the number of people with Alzheimer’s, or delay it by five years, then we can reduce the number of people with Alzheimer’s by 50 percent,” Carlsson said. “That would have a huge impact on quality of life and cost saving for our health care system.”

    Despite disappointment with clinical trials on discovering ways to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s in the past, Carlsson is optimistic about the research.

    “There are a lot of good leads and markers for things that may tell us about the brain before memory loss symptoms start,” she said. “I think there’s optimism in looking at a variety of ways for these medications to help improve blood flow to the brain.”

  • VA Study To Research Effects Of Fish Oil On Alzheimer's Risk For Veterans

    More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. A new VA study is seeking to find out how effective fish oil is in lowering cholesterol and slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s, particularly for veterans who have a family history of Alzheimer’s. We talk with the lead doctor on the study for more details.

  • Newest 'Reveal' Series Looks At Persistent Redlining

    The practice of preventing people of color from living in certain neighborhoods, known as “redlining”, has adapted to the modern world. A new investigation from ‘Reveal’ shows us the ways people of color are routinely denied loans and mortgages and how some policies have made gentrification worse. We speak with Reveal senior reporter Aaron Glantz about the investigation.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Host
  • Natalie Guyette Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Teresa Wiltz Guest
  • Dr. Cindy Carlsson Guest
  • Aaron Glantz Guest

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