Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only disease in the top ten that currently has no cure, treatment, or prevention.

A critical factor in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s is participation in clinical trials, which is the step-by-step process that studies or tests a new procedure, drug, or vaccine for prevention, treatment, screening or improving quality of life. African Americans make up over 13% of the population but are only 5% of clinical trials participants. And this number is even lower for older African Americans.

The African American Network Against Alzheimer’s (AANAA) is spearheading a nationwide effort to increase enrollment in clinical trials by meeting African Americans where they are – in churches, community centers, and through leading organizations – and providing them with the information they need to participate.

A tough topic for African-Americans is clinical trials. Monroe said it’s a “big, big, big” issue in the community and one the network doesn’t shy away from.

“It’s not just necessarily about taking medicine. We need to know what a healthy brain looks like. We need healthy subjects. We need people who are in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. People who may be afraid of it.”

“We’re different, and we need to be able to know what these differences are,” Monroe added. “Worse than not finding a cure is finding one and then finding that it doesn’t work for everyone.”

Monroe counters ‘guinea pig’ concerns with a reminder of past medications that have failed to treat African-Americans effectively.


Heartland Research is currently recruiting volunteers for an Alzheimer’s study of an investigational medication. Volunteers will be compensated for their time and travel. To learn more call, 316-689-6652 East Wichita, or 316-462-0420 West Wichita.

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