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2005 Grant - Manly
Health and Cognition Among African-American Women
Jennifer J. Manly, Ph.D.
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, New York
2005 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Some studies suggest that Alzheimer's disease may be more prevalent among blacks and African-Americans than among white Americans. The underlying cause for this discrepancy is unknown. One potential source for the difference may be a higher rate of misdiagnosis in African-Americans due to the limitations of diagnostic tools to account for cultural, socioeconomic and educational factors that may influence assessment outcomes. Another source may be related to the higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease among African-Americans, as the same risk factors for cardiovascular disease may also be factors that increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's.
Jennifer J. Manly, Ph.D., and colleagues—in collaboration with Delta Sigma Theta, an African-American sorority—are recruiting African-American women age 55 and older to participate in a long-term study. Their goal is to determine the relationships between (1) demographic and cultural variables and current cognitive test performance, (2) cardiovascular health and current cognitive function, and (3) cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive decline.
Through follow-up surveys, the research team will also assess whether the presence of cardiovascular risk factors identified at the beginning of the project predict a more rapid cognitive decline. This work may be valuable in defining the role of cardiovascular risk factors and may shed light on prevalence data that is often difficult to interpret.