Neurologists encourage Blacks to volunteer for Alzheimer’s study | Community

Neurologists encourage Blacks to volunteer for Alzheimer’s study | Community

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Participants get free  brain scans they can share with their doctors






Neurologists encourage Blacks to volunteer for Alzheimer’s study

Dr. Carol St. James of Progressive Medical Research; Judith Jeter, manager of Recruitment and Trial Optimization for GAP; and Dr. Luther St. James of Progressive Medical Research are working to increase diversity in Alzheimer’s clinical trials.


The effects of Alzheimer’s Disease on Black families across the U.S. are devastating. If nothing is done to mitigate these effects, according to researchers at Florida International University and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, by 2030 nearly 40% of all Americans with Alzheimer’s disease will be either Black or Latino.

Over 580,000 people aged 65 and older are currently living with Alzheimer’s in Florida.

Nationally, Black people are two to three times more likely than whites to develop Alzheimer’s in their lifetime.

Yet, despite being at greater risk for the disease, Black Americans are often severely underrepresented in clinical research – according to the National Institute on Aging, Black Americans make up less than 10% of all clinical trial participants in active Alzheimer’s and related dementia research.

Additionally, Black Americans (18.2%) were less likely to receive a timely Alzheimer’s diagnosis when compared to Whites (23.3%) and, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, half of Black Americans (50%) reported they have experienced health care discrimination.

No experimental treatments

Neurologists in Port Orange, in collaboration with the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP), are working to address these disparities directly.

Progressive Medical Research is now enrolling volunteers with and without memory concerns in GAP’s innovative Bio-Hermes study. The study seeks to evaluate which blood or digital biomarker tests could best help predict the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

There are no experimental treatments involved in the Bio-Hermes study. Volunteers will receive a study related brain scan at no-cost to them and learn more about their brain health.

In addition, GAP’s Bio-Hermes study will remain open until at least 20% of study participants are Black and Latino, nearly four times the national average in Alzheimer’s research, to help en- sure that future Alzheimer’s assessment tools are sensitive and specific to all communities.

“We are committed to recruiting a diverse pool of volunteers for the Bio-Hermes study in part because it’s a matter of fundamental fairness to make the study available to every community,” said John Dwyer, president of the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation.

“But we also are mindful that members of the Black and Latino community more frequently are burdened with the disease. We want to ensure the results of the study apply to everyone with Alzheimer’s.”

Neurologists leading the Bio- Hermes study will compare the results of blood and digital bio-marker tests – including digital, cognitive, retinal, and voice assessments – with the results of brain amyloid PET scans and traditional cognitive tests.

All races encouraged

Resulting data will help scientists determine which cost-effective and accessible tests best foretell the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease in all people and help advance us toward a cure. 

“The Bio-Hermes study offers a rare opportunity for volunteers to get a study related brain scan at no cost to them while also helping advance Alzheimer’s research,” said Dr. Alex White, the president of Progressive Research.

“Because the study will evaluate a variety of assessment tools, participants will learn about their own brain health. We hope that people from all races and backgrounds will join in on this groundbreaking study so that the results can benefit every community.”

Progressive welcomes volunteers of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. The site’s state of the art clinical pharmacology research unit brings together an impressive blend of experience and services. Additionally, Progressive has managed clinical studies across virtually every therapeutic area.

Volunteers for the Bio-Hermes study must be between 60 and 85 years old and have someone who can participate with them as a study partner.

The study requires two visits with Progressive staff and one visit to a local imaging site over the course of three months, with the potential for a follow-up phone call (if needed). Free transportation will be offered to all study participants.

Those interested in learning more about volunteering in the Bio-Hermes study and volunteering should call Progressive Medical Research at 386-304-7070.

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Jenny Oslen