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When 65-year-old model, actress, and restaurateur Barbara Smith, better known as B. Smith, was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s more than four years ago, she made the decision to fight. And she continues on today.
“I am fighting,” the former B. Smith with Style host told TODAY on Friday. “I’m fighting right now.”
Smith is also on a new mission: Today, she and her husband Dan Gasby announced their partnership with the Brain Health Registry for an initiative to identify and recruit candidates for clinical trials, particularly minorities. The registry, which currently has over 10,000 members, is open to anyone age 18 and older, and is free to register. It aims to build a pool of candidates who can then be matched up with clinical trials happening all over the U.S. — a way to make the clinical trial recruitment process easier.
You can learn more about Brain Health Registry in the video featuring B. Smith, above.
Even though African Americans are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, they make up just 2 percent of participants in Alzheimer’s disease treatment trials, and are generally underrepresented in medical research.
“We need to increase the number of African Americans in clinical trials if we’re going to get serious about Alzheimer’s,” Dan Gasby said in a statement. “The fastest way to do that is to participate in the Brain Health Registry for free.”
Smith isn’t the only one famous face urging action against Alzheimer’s. Maria Shriver also announced this week her Wipe Out Alzheimer’s Challenge, created in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association and the non-profit A Woman’s Nation. Her initiative aims to educate women about the disease, as women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s.