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A vacant rowhouse in Baltimore. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan has spent almost a year exploring the wide health disparities within different neighborhoods of Baltimore — one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States.

By the numbers: Life expectancies are 20 years shorter in Baltimore’s poorer, mostly African American neighborhoods than in wealthier, predominantly white areas.

The details: There’s not much evidence those disparities are genetic. Instead, they are largely the side effects of engrained discrimination, especially in housing.

  • Abandoned buildings feed public-health nuisances. Allergic reactions to mice are the leading environmental factor in the roughly 5,000 trips Baltimore children make to the emergency room each year for asthma attacks.
  • In the ‘90s, up to 70% of kids in some Baltimore neighborhoods had been exposed to lead paint.
  • Studies show that African Americans get less sleep than white people, on average, and exhibit more “stress-related wear and tear,” all of which contributes to serious health conditions and shorter lifespans.
  • There are fewer supermarkets in poor neighborhoods, and more fast-food chains.

The bottom line: Health research is increasingly aware of, and focused on, the “social determinants of health” — things like access to housing, community services and transportation, that affect our health even though we think of them as separate from the health care system. And it’s hard to ignore the acute racial disparities in many of those factors.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."

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