UC Davis awarded $14M to study Alzheimer’s in Latinos

Latinos have almost 1.5 times higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease than white non-Hispanics, and the University of California has been granted $14.7 million from the National Institutes of Health to study why.

The study will be the largest ever to examine the factors that contribute to cognitive decline among Latinos, the fastest growing minority in the United States. UC Davis will lead the investigation, which will involve more than 16,000 participants and partner with nine other sites across the country—Michigan State, the University of Illinois, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the University of Texas Science Center, Wayne State University, the University of Washington, the University of Miami, San Diego State University and the University of North Carolina.

The Latino population is especially important to study in the field of dementia because Latinos have a higher prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and obesity compared to non-Hispanic Caucasians, all risk factors for stroke and dementia, explained co-principal investigator Charles S. DeCarli, director of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center and professor of neurology, in a university release.

The study will make use of leading-edge magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, which can help assess vascular brain injury and patterns of atrophy seen in Alzheimer’s disease. MRI scans will be acquired at the partnering institutions and evaluated at UC Davis.

“Advanced neuroimaging techniques can help us better understand the relationship between brain structure and function with aging and disease,” said DeCarli, who also directs the UC Davis Imaging of Dementia and Aging (IDeA) laboratory. “The information attained will help us to better design and monitor new therapies.”

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia