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Study underway to figure out why Mexican-Americans may be getting Alzheimer's earlier

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FORT WORTH - A ground breaking study is underway at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth involving Mexican-Americans and Alzheimer's disease.

"Mexican-Americans seem to be developing memory loss younger than non- Hispanic whites, but we don't know why. We're seeing it a lot among Mexican American's in the early 70's and in the 60' and some people in

their early 60's with that pre-Alzheimer's, " says O'Bryant, PhD, Professor, Center for Alzheimer's & Neurodegenerative Disease Research at UNTHSC.

The study is one of the largest and most comprehensive to date ever conducted in the United States. The research is made possible due to a $12 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Juan Sanchez says it's difficult to watch his wife of 36 years suffer from Alzheimer's . He says his wife Janie was only 52 years old when she started getting sick.

Dr. O'Bryant says the goal of the study is to hopefully not only change the way doctors diagnose Alzheimer's, but also treat the disease.

The study will collect blood samples from 1,000 Mexican-Americans and 1,000 non-Hispanic whites.

This study is so extensive that a robot has been purchased to process to separate blood tubes.

People are still needed for the study, and you don't have to be from North Texas.

"Right now it's a 5 year study, and we see everyone twice, so it's every 24 months people are seen, " added Dr. O'Bryant.

The research is promosing for families like the Sanchez family who is slowly watching their loved ones memory slip away.

If you would like to take part in the UNTHSC study, and you're above the age of 50, you're urged to call 817-735-2963.

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