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Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2011 Jun;26(4):334-9. doi: 10.1177/1533317511412047. Epub 2011 Jun 21.

Explanations of AD in ethnic minority participants undergoing cognitive screening.

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  • 1Florida Atlantic University, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Boca Raton, FL, USA.


The purpose of this study was to describe and compare explanations of Alzheimer's disease (AD) of African American, Afro-Caribbean, and European American older adults undergoing cognitive screening. Participants were asked a series of open-ended questions regarding what they knew about AD and if they were experiencing memory problems. Responses were coded and quantized for analysis. Forty percent reported experiencing memory problems. Afro-Caribbeans made significantly more incorrect statements about AD and were less likely to identify memory loss as a symptom. Half the participants said they would seek their physician's advice if the screening was positive; none mentioned a memory disorder center. Misconceptions about AD included the effect of aluminum, brain collapse, relaxed brain, shaking, tremors, and physical illness. More Afro-Caribbeans, all of whom were first generation, had misconceptions about AD. Campaigns to educate the public about AD need to provide culturally sensitive and appropriate information to ethnic minority populations.

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