Pitt Researchers try to determine why Black community hit hardest by Alzheimer’s disease

A recent article in the Pittsburgh Courier says:  It is well known that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Dementia describes symptoms of memory loss and other cognitive abilities that are serious enough to affect daily life. Though researchers do not know exactly what causes Alzheimer’s disease, they do know it is characterized by abnormal deposits of proteins in the brain called amyloid plaque and tau tangles. It is a disease that progresses over time, leading to breakdowns in cognitive and physical functions and, eventually, death. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but treatment for its symptoms is available. Because the greatest known risk factor is age, early diagnosis allows early treatment and preparation for the changes the disease brings.

African Americans have higher rates of Alzheimer’s and are often diagnosed much later in the progression of the disease.  They are are twice as likely as non-Latinx whites to develop the disease.

Ann D. Cohen, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is one of the researchers involved in a study trying to understand more about Alzheimer’s disease and why it disproportionately affects African Americans.

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