News & Recent Publications

Case Western Reserve University to Expand Alzheimer’s Disease Research with Cleveland’s African American Communities

July 19, 2022 – Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) researchers within the Department of Population and Quantitative Health sciences have secured funding through the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Aging to expand community outreach.  This is part of a nationwide effort to better understand a disease that presents differently—and at different rates—in communities that historically have not been included in large-scale genetic research.

 This enhances research that is foundational to developing prevention strategies, earlier diagnostic tests and treatments for a condition that has no boundaries, said Jonathan L. Haines {link to bio}.  Read more.  {Links to new page}

Recent publications focused on people with African and/or Hispanic Ancestry

Most genetic research for AD has focused on non-Hispanic whites of European ancestry. This lack of diversity is problematic, given the higher prevalence of AD among people with African and Hispanic ancestry compared to non-Hispanic whites.

Recent studies published by Dr. Haines and colleagues have shown novel and nuanced findings about genetic variation linked to the risk for AD as well as protection from AD among people with African and/or Hispanic ancestry.

ABCA7 frameshift deletion associated with Alzheimer disease in African Americans 

A 2016 study found that a deletion in the ABCA7 gene (located on chromosome 19) is an ethnic-specific alteration that increases risk of AD in individuals with African ancestry (Cukier, Neurology: Genetics, 2016).

Ancestral Origin of ApoE e4 Alzheimer disease risk in Puerto Rican and African American Populations

A 2018 study showed that Alzheimer’s risk conferred by the APOE-4 varies by the ancestral origin of the genomic region surrounding the APOE gene (Rajabli, PLOS Genetics, 2018), with APOE-4 on the gene conveying African ancestry carrying a far lower Alzheimer’s risk than the APOE-4 on the gene conveying European ancestry. In other words, among people with African American heritage – who also have European heritage – variation of the APOE-4 located on the gene conveying European ancestry, conveys a higher risk for Alzheimer’s.

Genetic meta-analysis of diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease identifies new risk loci and implicates AB, tau, immunity and lipid processing

A 2019 study (Kunkle, Nature Genetics, 2019) continued the nuanced look at genetic architecture and demonstrated associations between genetic variants implicated in AD and cardiovascular conditions, in non-Hispanic whites and among African Americans, pointing to related disease mechanisms of these conditions.

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