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Alzheimer’s Trials Exclude Black Patients at ‘Astonishing’ Rate

Black people are more prone than White people to develop Alzheimer’s yet represent only 2% of those in clinical trials.

Brian Van Buren has been living with Alzheimer’s since 2015 and has been turned down for numerous treatment trials.

Brian Van Buren has been living with Alzheimer’s since 2015 and has been turned down for numerous treatment trials.

Photographer: Ian Mahathey/Bloomberg
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Black people are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as White people, but for years the pharmaceutical industry has mostly left them out of trials intended to prove new drugs are safe and effective.

Brian Van Buren, a 71-year-old retired flight attendant, knows what that feels like. He’s been living with Alzheimer’s since 2015. Over the years he has tried to join numerous trials, but he says he’s been turned down every time. In some cases he’s been told his other health issues—he suffers from diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea—rule him out. At other times, he says, he was turned away for not having a nearby partner or caregiver.