By Janissa Delzo
A collaborative report issued by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) details a national strategy to both boost recruitment in Alzheimer’s disease research and increase diversity among those eligible research participants.
PMC Co-Director Jason Karlawish, MD, contributed to the October report titled, “Together We Make the Difference: National Strategy for Recruitment and Participation in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Clinical Research,” which reflects two years of work.
“This document focuses on one area of urgency—the pressing need for increased and diverse participation in research studies as these scientific opportunities emerge,” wrote NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, MD. “Additional studies on new approaches will require greater numbers of people from across the disease spectrum.”
As researchers seek volunteers with specific genotypes or biomarkers, about 10 people must be screened to find a single eligible research participant, and so increasing recruitment efforts becomes vital.
Further, clinical evidence reflecting population diversity is critical for Alzheimer’s studies. African-Americans, for example, have greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease than non-Hispanic whites, and only diverse research cohorts can help find out why.
The strategy is an extension of the first National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, publicly released in 2012. The new implementation plan, outlined in 32 pages, discusses specific steps that a wide range of people—researchers, funders, participants, families, clinicians, employers, media, national, and community-based organizations—can take to effect change.
Four of the main goals outlined in the report are:
- increase awareness at a broad, national level
- build and improve capacity and infrastructure at the study site level
- engage local communities and support participants
- develop an applied science of recruitment