Senior Resources » Answers for Elders Episode: Why Latinos Hesitate on Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials

Answers for Elders Episode: Why Latinos Hesitate on Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials

Courtesy of Athira Pharma, Psychiatrist and Medical Director Bernardo Ng of the Sun Valley Research Center joins Suzanne to talk about why Latinos are often hesitant to participate in Alzheimer’s clinical trials.


Dr. Ng says, “We were talking about access earlier on, and that’s one of the things that we’re trying to overcome, by settling in an area that has little services. Other highly populated Hispanic areas may not have clinical sites like that.

“The other one is certainly the stigma that we have talked about. The fear of, or just the thought of, being a subject in the research trial, because that sounds wrong or sounds fishy. 


“And the other one is the denial, or fear of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Many people prefer to say that is normal aging, and a normal dementia for older people, which for years now, we know that that term does not exist anymore. I try to compare it with conditions like osteoporosis. You know, the bones become thin, it’s normal that they become thin. Now, there is a point when the bones are just too thin, that’s not normal, and requires treatment, because it carries health risks. So the same thing, being not able to memorize things, or to speak. Well, that’s manifestations of the deterioration of the brain, and that’s illness, and we call it Alzheimer’s.”

“I think [eventually] society is gonna look at this a different way. It’s not such a sentence now for, you know, people with cancer, right? Especially, for example, with breast cancer. The progress has been humongous. So I look forward to the day we’re gonna get there with Alzheimer’s.”

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Originally published September 07, 2023

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