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2023 Alzheimer's Association Research Fellowship to Promote Diversity (AARF-D)

Digital Platform for Precision Brain Health in the Bogalusa Heart Study

Can remote brain health assessments improve Alzheimer’s research participation in underrepresented groups?

Ileana De Anda-Duran, M.D., MPH
Tulane University Health Sciences Center
New Orleans, LA - United States


According to the 2023 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures Report, older non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanic Americans are disproportionately more likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementia compared to white adults. These diseases also disproportionately impact individuals from socioeconomically and geographically disadvantaged (i.e., rural) communities. 

Inclusion of diverse populations in studies of Alzheimer’s remains low; the majority of Alzheimer’s research is conducted on high-income, white individuals in urban settings. The results of such studies may not be readily applicable and generalizable to individuals in rural areas with higher poverty levels, individuals from segregated communities, or individuals with limited access to health care.

Research Plan

Dr. Ileana De Anda-Duran and colleagues will address these research gaps by studying the feasibility and acceptability of remote, technology-based assessments to obtain brain health measures among underrepresented groups. They will recruit individuals entering their 6th decade of life from the Bogalusa Heart Study (BHS), a long-term study of individuals in the low socioeconomic status, rural town of Bogalusa, Louisiana. First, the researchers will conduct focus groups and interviews to characterize participants’ perceived barriers, motivators, and willingness to engage in new remote strategies to participate in Alzheimer’s research. Next, the team will evaluate the feasibility, utility, and acceptability of a remote, digital platform to collect cognitive measures and in-home self-collection of blood samples among the individuals.


The results may lead to a novel, remote method of assessing cognition and Alzheimer’s-related biological markers. This data collection platform may enable more individuals from underrepresented groups to participate in Alzheimer’s research.

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