Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center

Alzheimer's Biomarkers in African Americans

Alzheimer's Biomarkers in African Americans

Overall Status: 
Brief Description: 

This observational study seeks to determine the influence of Alzheimer's disease and vascular disease on memory and aging in African Americans through biomarkers. Results of brain scans and lumbar punctures for African Americans will be compared with those of white Americans.

Patient Qualifications: 
Min AgeMax AgeGenderHealthy Volunteers
60 Years
85 Years
Accepts Healthy Volunteers
Inclusion Criteria: 
    • Normal cognition, diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, or diagnosis of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease
    • Self-reported race of African American or non-Hispanic white
    • Ability to undergo neuropsychological testing, lumbar puncture, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • English speaking
Exclusion Criteria: 
    • History of stroke
    • Diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or other progressive neurological disorder that may spare cognition
    • Mini-Mental State Examination score of less than 17
Detailed Description: 

Epidemiologic studies show that, compared to non-Hispanic white Americans, African Americans are more likely to develop MCI and Alzheimer's disease, have different genetic risks of developing Alzheimer's, and experience different rates of cognitive decline. The investigators hypothesize that endothelial dysfunction independently contributes to cognitive impairment in African Americans with Alzheimer's pathology, and that this dysfunction enhances the neurotoxicity of Alzheimer's-associated brain changes. (The endothelium is a thin layer of cells that line blood vessels and lymph vessels.)

Participants will undergo procedures to collect samples of Alzheimer's biomarkers, including cerebrospinal fluid, MRI, and amyloid imaging, another type of brain scan. Markers of endothelial function and inflammation will also be assessed. In addition, researchers will examine a gene variant unique to African Americans to see if it enhances Alzheimer's neurotoxicity, which may explain the greater hippocampal atrophy among African Americans with MCI compared with whites.

Map Marker CityStateZip CodePrimary Contact

Geolocation is 33.7980995, -84.3259367

Emory University
Lead Sponsor: 
Emory University
Collaborator Sponsor: 
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Facility Investigators: 
William Hu, MD, PhD
Principal Investigator
Emory University
Study Contact: 
William Hu, MD, PhD
Christina Howell
Locations ID 
NCT02089555 (follow link to view full record on in new window)
Study Start Date: 
September 2013
Study End Date: 
December 2015
Disease Stage: