Young People May Exhibit Risks Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease, Research Finds

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by Ray Burow |

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This year’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) revealed surprising news about risk factors related to Alzheimer’s, adolescents, young adults, and diagnosis.

For years, researchers have believed and touted that on average, Alzheimer’s patients are diagnosed at 80, and symptoms appear after 60. However, new research reveals that the risk factors surrounding Alzheimer’s disease may appear much earlier — even in the teens or early 20s.

Growing body of proof

The new findings revealed at AAIC also indicate that these risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, disproportionately affect African Americans. This is critical information when you consider that older African American adults are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than older white adults.

Perhaps if young adults are diagnosed and treated for contributing diseases, it would reduce the number of senior African American adults who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s later in life.

In an AAIC press release, Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, the Alzheimer’s Association’s chief science officer, said, “By identifying, verifying, and acting to counter those Alzheimer’s risk factors that we can change, we may reduce new cases and eventually the total number of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia.”

Diverse group to participate in clinical study

The Alzheimer’s Association is conducting a large study to determine how lifestyle interventions can affect risk factors that lead to dementia. The study also will test whether those interventions protect cognitive function.

The two-year clinical trial, titled “U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk” (U.S. POINTER), will include a large cross section of Americans and is the first of its kind. Hopefully, the study will assist in preventing cognitive decline.

US POINTER is accepting eligible participants

Participating in a clinical study is a great opportunity. To participate in the U.S. POINTER clinical trial, you must fall within a certain age group. If you’re between 60 and 79, you could be eligible. Exercising less than three times a week also is an eligibility requirement. (Yes, you read that right.)

Additional participation requirements include risk factors for future memory loss. If someone in your family suffers with memory loss, then you may be eligible to participate. Other risk factors that could provide entrance into the study include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Additional criteria are required to participate, but those won’t be revealed until screening.

Study locations

If you live close to one of the following study locations, you may wish to be involved in the U.S. POINTER study.

  • Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • UC Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento, California
  • Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois
  • Advocate Health Care in Chicago, Illinois
  • Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas

If you or someone you know has any of the above risk factors leading to dementia and are interested in participating in this important clinical trial, you can email [email protected] or call (800) 272-3900 for more information. A U.S. POINTER representative will contact you within three days of your inquiry.


Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.


Jackie Thom avatar

Jackie Thom

Thank you so much for putting so much into guiding us. Do you have any information on the role of early hormone problems? my first problem was


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