Letter – Support needed for diversity in Alzheimer’s clinical studies

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2022

To the Editor:

At the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2022, in San Diego, researchers shared new insights on the impact of racism on the brain.

In a study of nearly 1,000 middle-aged community-dwelling adults, exposure to interpersonal and institutional racism was associated with lower memory scores, and these associations were most strongly seen in Black individuals.

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This research underscores the importance of addressing health care disparities to achieve health equity. According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, Blacks are about twice as likely, and Hispanic/Latinos are about one and one-half times as likely, to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

It also further emphasizes the need to ensure that Alzheimer’s and dementia research reflects the diversity of the population. The bipartisan Equity in Neuroscience and Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials (ENACT) Act has the ability to address many of these issues. The ENACT Act would create a path to better Alzheimer’s care and address shortcomings in the way research and care is currently being delivered to underrepresented communities.

As an educator in the Black community I understand the importance of diverse representation in research. I furthered my knowledge and became a research champion for the New IDEAS study. Now I educate my community on resources and research opportunities.

Please join me and the Alzheimer’s Association in asking our Congressional representatives from Virginia to support the Equity in Neuroscience and Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials (ENACT) Act.

Aliyah Gause

Community Educator

Norfolk