Study Seeks to Identify Early Warning Signs of Dementia Among African Americans

Ishan Williams, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, is conducting research on identifying the early warning signs of dementia among African Americans. Dr. Williams seeks to find out if vascular problems among the African American population are leading to increased rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Williams will examine if less access to quality healthcare and physicians’ lack of knowledge about cognitive risks associated with vascular problems among the African American population are part of the problem.

“There is a whole population of Americans who are at great risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia who are falling through the cracks because we don’t fully understand the link with vascular problems,” Dr. Williams said. “If we can better understand what vascular risk factors are more strongly associated with mild cognitive impairment of early dementia, we can develop specific strategies to prevent – and protect – some of our most vulnerable populations.”

Dr. Williams is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a Ph.D. in human development and family studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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