Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects 5.8 million people in the United States and 700,000 people in Canada and is an immense burden on our economy, patients and caregivers. Genetic studies on large numbers of participants have successfully led to dozens of genetic findings associated with AD risk and promises for understanding the cause of the disease and strategies for treatment. Most of these findings are made on participants with European ancestry, and knowledge about AD genetics among Asian Americans is especially limited due to lack of participants. Comprising 6% of the US populace, Asian Americans are under-sampled and deserve more scientific investment.
The Asian Cohort for Alzheimer’s Disease (ACAD) will be the first large Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) genetics cohort for Asians in the United States and Canada (ASAC). We have assembled a team of scientists, clinicians, and community partners with a collaborative history and expertise in AD research, human genetics, and Asian community outreach. ACAD will recruit participants, collect data using translated data forms and clinical/diagnostic protocols, and collect blood to study chemical changes or abnormal protein levels. We are learning how sex, genetics, and lifestyle risk factors, such as diet, differ between Asians and Caucasians and will further explore how this impacts our risk for getting AD when we are older. The ultimate goal of ACAD is to develop more reliable AD diagnostics, more accurate risk predictions and more effective treatments and health delivery for the Asian American and Canadian populations.
During the first phase, ACAD will focus on (1) recruiting Chinese Americans to demonstrate feasibility and capacity, and (2) conducting pilot studies with Korean Americans and Vietnamese Americans. As the project evolves, we plan to recruit more participants and expand our data collection protocols to support other Asian American populations/communities.