Alzheimer's May Differ by Race
New research from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago suggests that Alzheimer’s disease may affect the brain differently depending on a person's race.
Researchers looked at 122 individuals – 41 African Americans and 81 European-Americans. They matched each African-American at a ratio of 2 to 1 with a European-American of the same level of disease severity, age, sex and education. Next, the researchers looked for brain changes associated with dementia, stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
Their findingsrevealed that almost all patients showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease. However, they determined that only 19.5 percent of African-Americans in the study had Alzheimer’s as a single dementia pathology, compared with 42 percent of European Americans.
Furthermore, 71 percent of African-Americans had Alzheimer’s disease mixed with another type of brain pathology, compared to 51 percent of European-American participants. Also, the African-Americans in the study were found to have an increased risk of severe blood vessel disease.
The findings could have important implications for how Alzheimer’s disease is treated, as most approaches target specific brain pathologies. Given the potential variances in the effects of Alzheimer’s depending on race, new treatments may be needed that also target other common pathologies.