Dr. Maya Angelou asks African-Americans to participate in Alzheimer’s study

NEW ALZHEIMER’S STUDY SEEKS TO FIND EARLIEST CLUES TO DISEASE PROGRESSION

 

Researchers are working on ways to protect people from Alzheimer’s disease, a problem particularly devastating to African Americans.

 

(BlackNews.com) — African Americans have significantly higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and will continue to live with this reality unless new prevention strategies are discovered. A study funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) may help provide some answers. This two-year, $24 million study – the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative Grand Opportunity (ADNI GO) – focuses for the first time on people experiencing the very earliest complaints of memory problems that affect their daily activities. ADNI GO expands on the groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) and will continue efforts to identify biomarkers that can help build a greater understanding of the progression of AD.

According to the 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report, African Americans are about two times as likely as their white counterparts to develop Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Although there appears to be no known genetic reason for these differences, complicating health conditions that disproportionately affect African Americans, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, can increase the risk of developing AD. The ADNI GO study is looking to involve people from the black community to ensure that the research will benefit all races and ethnicities.

“Despite their increased risk, African Americans are less likely than whites to receive a diagnosis,” said Dr. Thomas Obisesan, a principal investigator at Howard University, one of the ADNI GO study sites. “As the number of African American afflicted with this devastating disease continues to rise, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that our work accurately reflects this population.”

Maya Angelou, the eminent poet, author, educator and historian, is lending her support to the national ADNI GO campaign. Dr. Angelou, a professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, is working with their researchers to encourage African Americans and their families to take part in the study and ensure that communities of color are appropriately represented. For more information about the study and to learn how to participate at one of the 50 research sites across the U.S., contact the NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center: (800) 438-4380 or www.adcs.org/Studies/ImagineADNI.aspx or follow Alzheimer’s Disease Research on Facebook.