News : 2017 : June

Dr. Margaret Pericak-Vance Featured in the Washington Post

Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., Director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, is featured this month in a Washington Post article which focuses on African Americans and Alzheimer’s Disease.

The article follows the story of Gwendolyn Williams, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and her husband Gary’s dedicated search for answers. Entitled “African Americans are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Why?”, the article also discusses Dr. Pericak-Vance’s work with Alzheimer’s disease, her important collaboration with Dr. Goldie Byrd of North Carolina A&T University, and her work with the African-American community. She has dedicated her career to closing the gap on genomic health disparities and her partnership with Dr. Byrd seeks to address the article’s fundamental question.

Dr. Pericak-Vance and members of the HIHG team meet with Dr. Byrd's Team at NC A&T University
Pictured above: Dr. Pericak-Vance, Dr. Vance, and Mr. Larry Deon Adams meet with Dr. Byrd’s Team at NC A&T University.

In 2013, the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC) found that the ABCA7 gene was a higher-risk indicator for Alzheimer’s in African Americans than in non-Hispanic whites. Dr. Pericak-Vance, as one of the leaders of the ADGC, states: “The variant that is found in African Americans in the ABCA7 gene contributes more to the Alzheimer’s disease risk factor in African Americans than the variant that is associated in non-Hispanic white individuals with the disease. We don’t know why yet the variant in African Americans conveys greater risk, but we are actively researching the question. The fact that we know there’s a difference now gives us the ability to see how it increases risk and opens the door to looking at potential targets for new therapies in the long run.”

The article highlights how Dr. Pericak-Vance’s and Dr. Byrd’s work to engage the African-American community in research studies is truly making a difference.

To read the full article, please visit: Washington Post: African Americans are more likely than whites to develop Alzheimer’s. Why?