Living—and Aging—on City Streets

In San Francisco, a hub of homelessness in the US, researchers have observed firsthand how living on the streets can accelerate aging. With an average age of 57, homeless study participants suffered strokes, falls and incontinence at rates more typical of people in their 70s and 80s.

Next month, University of California, San Francisco will set out to study the interplay between degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and living on the streets. They’ll also explore the flip side: whether certain neurological conditions might contribute to people ending up homeless.

The hope is that this data will inform smarter spending for homelessness interventions—and spur more humane approaches to the problem.


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