Offering exercise, computer classes retains volunteers for Alzheimer's Disease research focused on African Americans

Bucky on exercise treadmill

Fabu Carter, PhD, MAA program for people participating in medical research on Alzheimer's disease in African American populations is taking an unusual approach: expanding support for volunteers by offering exercise classes and computer classes. The effort was profiled in a story by WISC-TV. 

African Americans are twice as likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer's disease, but are less likely to have an early diagnosis which would help with treatment and planning. 

For this reason, scientists at the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center are conducting research aimed at understanding the biological underpinnings of increased risk of Alzheimer's disease among African Americans. 

Recruitment and retention of study subjects is essential, and is the focus of Fabu Carter, MA, outreach specialist, Geriatrics and Gerontology and Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. To do so, Ms. Carter and colleagues are offering ongoing classes that benefit research participants, including fitness classes, computer classes, and - soon - a support group. 

“This is really groundbreaking work to get people into the research and then to keep them in,” said Ms. Carter. 

Last year, the retention rate for African American study subjects increased by 4 percent. Ms. Carter presented on the program and its impact at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in London, UK on July 16-20, 2017. Her abstract was entitled, "A Novel Participant-Centered Approach to Retention: The Wisconsin ADRC Retention Program."