AUSTIN (KXAN) — As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, researchers are asking Latinos to be part of an important study that could prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s one of the first, if not the first clinical trial to enroll participants as young as 55 years of age who may be at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease,” epidemiologist Dr. Christian Salazar said.

The study involved an experimental drug that would help doctors detect if you are at risk of the disease years before it impacts your brain.

“What we know about Alzheimer’s is that there are these changes that happen in the brain, these toxic changes that happen about 20 years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear. And what the ahead study does is it tests whether getting ahead of the symptoms can help to prevent or delay memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease,” Salazar said.

The Latino population is especially encouraged to participate in the research.

“Latinos comprise about 19 to 20% of the U.S. population. But unfortunately, less than 1% of Latino and Hispanic adults participate in Alzheimer’s disease trials,” Salazar said. “Without participation of Latino and Hispanic adults, we won’t know whether these treatments can help the Latino community.”

Once chosen for the trial, doctors will conduct a screening process that will determine whether individuals are at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

“We’ll measure the amount of amyloid and then assign a treatment based on the level of amyloid in the brain,” said Salazar.

Trial participants will then go through memory testing, a blood test and brain scans before being given an infusion of the investigational treatment every two to four weeks.

“We won’t know whether these treatments will work unless people participate, which is why I’m urging Latinos to get involved and to participate, it can help future generations, it may benefit the community. And it’s a great way to give back to the community,” Salazar said.

You can be pre-screened to see if you are a candidate to participate in the study.