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URMC Seeking African-American Participants For Alzheimer’s Study

Brain LossUniversity of Rochester Medical Center researchers are seeking African-American participants for a study that’s looking into the ways to reduce plaque that causes Alzheimer’s disease. The reason? African-Americans are twice as likely as Caucasians to develop Alzheimer’s, though researchers aren’t sure why.

“When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease there appears to be a higher prevalence in African American communities and Hispanic communities,” said URMC’s Dr. Anton Porsteinsson. “We think it may have something to do with vascular risk factors and diabetes, but there may be other elements to it.”
Currently, there’s no known way to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. However, a healthy eating plan can provide key nutrients that will improve brain fuction. Fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein are all great brain foods. Whole grains are as well, and can in fact provide other benefits — soluble fiber can help lower your cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

This national investigation, which URMC is a part of, is looking to slow Alzheimer’s progression of memory loss by removing the Amyloid protein buildup in the brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, these clumps can damage and destroy brain cells by interfering with cellular communication, among other ways. Though the ultimate cause of brain-cell death in Alzheimer’s is still unknown, and though there are other suspected causes, the buildup of Amyloid proteins is a prime suspect.

Currently, 380,000 people in New York state have Alzheimer’s. The number of cases is expected to rise by as much as 64% over the next 10 years. Given this dangerous potential and the fact that African-Americans are more likely to be affected, they’re of particular import to the study.

“We’re really trying to encourage African Americans to participate in clinical trials,” said Stephanie Monroe, the director of African Americans Against Alzheimer’s. “We are way underrepresented in clinical trials despite being over-represented in the actual underlying disease.”