A Call for Community Healing: Black Involvement in Alzheimer’s Research – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Doris Molina-Henry is assistant research professor of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine (courtesy of Molina-Henry’s office)

The AHEAD study is the first known research project to recruit participants as young as 55 and to personalize treatment based on the patient’s amyloid level. In order to improve health among underrepresented groups, there is a call for community involvement.

Doris Molina-Henry is a research assistant professor of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Additionally, she is a Fellow of USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute and has dedicated her energy to the study recruitment section of AHEAD.

The assistant professor of neurology research defined the severity of Alzheimer’s disease by saying: “It’s what we call a neurodegenerative disease – it’s a disease that causes the brain to degenerate over time to change over time. , to the point where some of the major functions that your brain can and do very normally become efficient, that’s very different from what happens in normal aging.

Molina-Henry continued, “As you get older, normally you may have changes in your speed of thought, you may have changes in your memory, you may tend to forget certain things more easily. But with Alzheimer’s disease, these changes are much more pronounced. And they can have such an impact that they can affect your daily functioning.

Dr. Molina-Henry received her PhD in Neurobiology and Health Sciences Anatomy from Wake Forest University. His thesis focused on the role of trophic factors in “age-related” brain functions. She is the author of publications on the influence of growth hormone and its changes in synaptic transmission.

With a diverse background, Dr. Molina-Henry grew up in a home that celebrated her Afro-Caribbean and Latin culture. Her father struggles with a degenerative spine disease, she feels the sensitivity behind underrepresented family households who champion a lifestyle with physical challenges.

In an exclusive interview with Los Angeles Sentinel, Dr. Molina-Henry uncovered urgent needs to help with the health of the black community. Molina-Henry’s office shared some alarming statistics:

  • For black and African American adults in the United States, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is twice as high as for non-Hispanic white adults.
  • The black community is significantly underrepresented in medical research, accounting for less than 9% of trial participation.

“I think the simplest statistic that we generally share when we think about it is that African Americans and black people in our communities are twice as likely as white people in general to develop Alzheimer’s disease. They are sometimes hit earlier and more aggressively. said Molina-Henry.

Dr. Molina-Henry shared another important factor affecting the black community, “They [Black Community] tend to be diagnosed less frequently and this may be because people perceive this as a normal condition of aging sometimes until it progresses significantly.

Combating these odds is the AHEAD study, Molina-Henry elaborated on the ingredients of producing this research. The AHEAD project was designed to investigate whether mitigating AHEAD disease can prevent future memory loss and dementia.

Molina-Henry also described preventive measures one can take to deter degenerative symptoms: “By making changes in your life early enough, you may be able to compensate for when the disease strikes – of this research is still ongoing, and we find that it is. have an impact,” said Dr. Molina-Henry.

In full disclosure, Dr. Molina-Henry shared gray areas within the study, saying, “We still don’t know in some ways what exactly is, in fact, prevent treat, cure the disease. There are other avenues, of course, where there are treatments that become available, there’s a lot of work that’s being done diligently by a number of different research groups, to find ways to attack the disease from different angles.

Molina-Henry has examined all aspects of mental health research. His previous work in this area has included exploring the relationship between sleep and the mind’s ability to alleviate dementia.

In this proactive study, AHEAD was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Eisai, Inc. It examines whether it is an “experimental treatment”, the elimination of amyloid from the brain; to slow brain changes in people who may be predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease.

The AHEAD study is looking for healthy adults between the ages of 55 and 80 and participants from different backgrounds, to find the solution to a healthier world. Visit AHEADStudy.org to learn more.

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