African Americans and Latinos are underrepresented in Alzheimer’s research. Here are 4 ways to fix that

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Image: Leland Bobbe/NPR

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, the organization we work with, recently analyzed more than 300 peer-reviewed studies of non-drug interventions for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Just under 4% of them focused on communities of color.

This is startling given the fact that African Americans are two to three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than non-Hispanic whites, while Latinos are 1.5 times more likely.

There are four steps the health care system, researchers, and policymakers can take to better prepare for these shifting demographics.

Promote early detection and diagnosis. Despite a higher risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia, African Americans and Latinos living with these conditions are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to receive a diagnosis from a provider.

Related article:  Hemophilia gene therapies put on fast track to FDA approval

Broaden criteria for research eligibility. Strict eligibility criteria for Alzheimer’s trials can lead to limited representation of minorities in clinical research.

Better information on social determinants of health. Collecting and mapping data on social determinants of health will address gaps in Alzheimer’s research and health services.

Expand medical and family leave. According to a national poll of dementia caregivers, more than half of those surveyed who used paid family leave benefits reported positive effects on their ability to provide care and on their own emotional well-being.

Read full, original post: A road map for including Latinos and African Americans in Alzheimer’s research

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