Millions of people in America 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s disease, and the number is rising quickly. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 120,000 people in Tennessee have the disease. For people of color, the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is even higher. Hispanic adults and Black adults are especially at risk, with incidence rates 1.5 to two times higher than white adults, respectively.
To help find answers, researchers in Nashville are conducting an Alzheimer’s research study funded by the National Institutes of Health and Eisai. The AHEAD Study is the first research study that aims to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease by enrolling participants as young as 55, who have no memory problems, using a tailored approach to treatment. The study looks at an investigational treatment aimed at delaying memory decline in people up to 20 years before the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear, with the treatment dose based on participants’ brain scan results. Discovering a treatment that targets brain changes early means that one day, doctors may be able to prevent memory loss.
“The AHEAD Study is exciting because we’re now aiming to get ahead of the disease before symptoms are noticeable,” said Blake Wilson, B.S., Community Liaison at the Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine. “Minoritized groups are two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but if they have a family history of Alzheimer’s or if they are concerned about their memory, participating in the AHEAD Study gives them an opportunity to get ahead of Alzheimer’s disease—and wouldn’t you want to do whatever you can to try to preserve your memory? It’s a great opportunity for people in Nashville.”
This groundbreaking study needs volunteers, ages 55-80, who may be at increased risk of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Diverse participants are encouraged to join the AHEAD Study, so researchers can learn more about why people of color are at higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In Nashville, emphasis is being placed on enrolling participants who have traditionally been underrepresented in research studies.
If interested in learning more about the AHEAD Study, please visit AHEADstudy.org or call the team at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center at 615-936-4997.