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Research Grants 2006


To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.

2006 Grant - Iris

Beliefs About Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia and Aging: Cultural and Social Factors

Madelyn A. Iris, Ph.D.
Council for Jewish Elderly
Chicago, Illinois

2006 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant

Studies have indicated that African Americans and Hispanics are under-diagnosed for Alzheimer's disease and underserved by most clinical and social support programs. People in these populations are also more likely to have higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease-factors that put them at increased risk for dementia.

A more recent ethnic minority group is the refugee population from the former Soviet Union. Studies have shown that this community has high rates of moderate to severe depression-also a possible dementia risk factor.

Each of these populations may have some generalizable values and beliefs about aging, dementia, health care, and family and community support that affect choices to seek care. Madelyn Iris, Ph.D., and colleagues have designed a study to determine how people in these three populations identify, explain and respond to behavioral and memory changes associated with the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

The investigators will conduct interviews with 30 lay experts from the three communities (10 in each community) to elicit beliefs and knowledge about Alzheimer's disease, aging and memory loss. Based on these findings, they will construct a group-specific questionnaire to be distributed to 108 respondents (36 per group) in an effort to further refine their understanding of community knowledge and beliefs about Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Iris's team hopes to identify the cultural and social factors that represent barriers to the recognition and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The outcome of this work may provide a foundation for developing clinical and community services that appropriately serve people in these population groups.