Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, a
condition that degrades cognitive functions such as reasoning, memory
and judgment. The disease affects about 5.4 million people in the United
States, according to the Alzheimer's Association, which estimates that
Alzheimer's and other dementias will cost the U.S. $236 billion this
Latinos may have a higher risk of
developing dementia compared to other groups and a significant number
appear to be getting Alzheimer's disease at a younger age. The Alzheimer's Association says that about 200,000 Latinos in the
United States have Alzheimer's, but the number could reach 1.3 million
by 2050 based on Census Bureau figures and a study of Alzheimer's
‘A unique, cohort study called Latino Core to learn about the aging process and risk factors for Alzheimer's disease in older Latino adults has been launched by the Rush University Medical Center.’
However, there has not been much research to understand why it is
that Latinos are developing these conditions much earlier. Rush University Medical Center has launched a unique, cohort study
called Latino Core to learn about the aging process and risk factors for
Alzheimer's disease in older Latino adults.
"This study looks at cognitive and motor function, dementia and
Alzheimer's disease risks in the Latino population in the Chicago area,"
said Dr. David X. Marquez, lead investigator of the study at the Rush
Alzheimer's Disease Center.
Marquez said, "Also, past surveys indicate that Latinos are less likely to
see doctors because of financial and language barriers, often mistaking
dementia symptoms for normal aging, thus delaying diagnosis."
"Further, while we talk about Latinos as a group, they are a
very heterogeneous group. Many prior studies are Latinos from the
Caribbean islands. The Chicago area is comprised primarily of Latinos
of Mexican heritage."
The Latino Core study at Rush is part of the Rush Alzheimer's
Disease Core Center, which was refunded in July 2016 for $14.3 million
grant by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of
Health. The Rush Alzheimer's Disease Core Center is a long-term, 30-year
A unique aspect of the Latino Core is that the Rush Alzheimer's
Disease Core Center includes the African American Core and the Religious
Orders Study Core. The greater Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center also
includes the Rush Memory and Aging Project and the Minority Aging
Research Study, which annually recruit and collect data from black and
Latino participants without dementia, some of whom also agree to donate
their brains upon death. All five cohort studies are conducted by the
same investigative team with the same data allowing comparison across
race and ethnicity among more than 4,500 persons.
"We know so much about white people and we don't know much about
pathology in Latinos and African Americans, and it may be different,"
said Dr. David Bennett, director of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center.
The Latino Core study will enroll more than 300 older Latinos
without dementia. Participants will receive yearly visits at their home
at no cost which are conducted in Spanish or English. This will include
taking memory exams, a blood draw and answering questions about health
They will be asked to consider brain donation at the time of death
as brain autopsy allows researchers to correlate physical changes in the
brain with observed and reported memory and related problems while
"Alzheimer's disease is a major cause of death, it's a major cause
of disability, it's a major cause of economic hardship, family
hardship," Bennett says. "For most people, their thinking and their
memories are among the most precious things they have."
The Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center research focuses on disease
prevention, hoping someday to spare the living from Alzheimer's disease.
Without such advances, the number of people with Alzheimer's in the
U.S. is expected to increase to 13.8 million by 2050, the Alzheimer's
"Individuals who join the Latino Core study will be making an
important contribution to our knowledge about Alzheimer's disease and
the aging process of older Latino adults," said Marquez.
"Further, brain donation is a gift for our children and
grandchildren who we hope will live full and long lives without
Alzheimer's disease," added Dr. Marquez.