Survey Reveals Gap in Understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease Risk and Prevention among Most Vulnerable Populations

From the Alzheimer’s Disease Information Network, May 2009, E-Newsletter

African Americans and Hispanic Americans are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD) than Caucasian Americans. They also have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease, all of which increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2009 survey of 601 African American adults and 602 Hispanic American adults by Eisai Corporation and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation shows, however, thatthese minority groups have less knowledge about the disease and take less advantage of interventions than Caucasian Americans.

photo of Hispanic woman

The margin of error for this survey is plus or minus 4 percent. The African Americans who were surveyed expressed higher levels of concern about AD than their Caucasian counterparts, but only half knew that people can take action to decrease risk factors related to the onset of AD. Data also showed that 65 percent of African Americans and 49 percent of Hispanic Americans believe race plays a role in the quality of care they receive for AD. A majority of the respondents supported an Alzheimer’s screening test and thought the government should do more to ensure access to AD-related health care. They also identified several barriers to appropriate care, including cost and the perception that quality of care is influenced by race.

Why Should Minorities Participate in Clinical Trials?

Minorities have long been underrepresented in clinical trials. Groups such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native American Indians, Asian Americans, and women have generally not participated in clinical drug trials nearly as frequently as Caucasian American and male groups.

Studies have shown that drugs sometimes work differently in people in these groups. It is important to make sure that we understand how to use drugs to get the best results in all people.

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