Equity for African Americans in Alzheimer’s disease

Washington University nurse Sarah Goddard administers an antibody infusion to Collins E. Lewis, MD, an associate professor emeritus of psychiatry, who has served for years as a healthy volunteer. He also is a member of the African American Advisory Board.
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Alzheimer’s disease is like two deaths, said Stephanie Griffin, whose father died of the brain disease in 2015.

“It’s horrific,” she said. “First, you watch them lose the ability to talk, to think, to do any of the things they used to do. And then, to see them pass because of it? It’s just … it’s a lot.”

Caring for a loved one with this fatal, progressive neurodegenerative disease is heartbreaking and exhausting. The challenges are particularly daunting in the African American community, where the disease is often poorly understood — despite Alzheimer’s being about twice as common among African Americans as other Americans.