Latinos are at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s compared to their white counterparts, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This is particularly concerning because the number of Latinos who will get Alzheimer’s is projected to increase drastically over the coming years.

“Latinos are at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, and unless we do something about it, these disparities are going to just climb and climb,” said Epidemiologist Dr. Christian Salazar, University of California – Irvine, Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders.

Dr. Salazar says the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s may include memory loss that starts to impact a person’s life – but in a almost 6 in 10 Latinos believe that a significant loss of memory or cognitive abilities is a normal part of aging.

“What we know about Alzheimer’s is that there are these toxic changes that happen in the brain up to 20 years before symptoms appear.”

Epidemiologist Dr. Christian Salazar
University of California – Irvine, Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders

While Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely than Whites to have dementia, more research is needed to understand why. To address the issue, Dr. Salazar is urging the Hispanic community to consider participating in Alzheimer’s disease research.

He suggests the clinical trial called the AHEAD Study. The purpose of AHEAD is to gather data and research in order to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease from even happening.

Dr. Salazar explained Latinos make up about 20% of the U.S. population, but less than 1% actually participate in clinical trials. Without Latino participation, he warned researchers cannot know whether new treatments will benefit the Hispanic community and how effective they are for Latinos.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a complex disease, and we need to continue this fight. We need your help to help us develop these new treatments. We need Latino participation,” urged Dr. Salazar.

In Southeast Texas, the two nearest AHEAD Study locations are at the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute and Baylor College of Medicine in the Houston Medical Center. Both locations are currently enrolling for the AHEAD study.

Researchers are asking those between the ages of 55 and 80 to visit and get more information and see if they qualify.

Local AHEAD Study locations include:

Houston Methodist Neurological Institute
6560 Fannin St
Houston, TX 77030 USA

Contact: Jennifer Garrett

Baylor College of Medicine
7200 Cambridge St
Houston, TX 77030 USA

Contact: Hannah Shields