To uncover more information about minority susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease and minority response to Alzheimer’s drugs, of course, scientists are going to need to get more minority patients involved in Alzheimer’s research. But will they participate?
Conference attendees agreed that while it is challenging to get minorities involved in medical research—because of language difficulties, transportation difficulties, cultural factors, and so forth—it is certainly not impossible. The best way to reach minorities, they concurred, was at the community level—say, through their primary care physicians, churches, senior centers, and so on. There is reason to think that once minorities are aware of Alzheimer’s research projects and the need for their participation, they will indeed want to get involved. So testified Robert Green, M.D., director of the clinical corps of the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center, on the basis of his own experience in this area.
Not long ago, Green and his colleagues wanted to set up what is expected to be the first study on people’s psychological reactions to learning that they have a genetic susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers weren’t sure that people would be willing to take part in such a study, yet a number of people have expressed interest, Green reported. In fact, to date, he said, "41 people have stuck out their arms" to be tested for the APOE-E4 gene variant that increases Alzheimer’s susceptibility, and that includes minority Americans.