Early Detection of Alzheimer’s among Diverse Populations

As part of a search for more accurate early detection of Alzheimer’s disease among racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse populations, Jennifer Manly, PhD, associate professor of neuropsychology, Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, found that educational experience was a strong predictor of cognitive decline risk across groups. The aspects of education studied included quality of schooling, location and setting of school, reading level, and academic achievement.

Alzheimer’s disease is more prevalent among African Americans and Latinos than among non-Hispanic whites. Dr. Manly’s study took into account the higher levels of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease among African Americans and Latinos, as well as the effect of these diseases on education and cognition. Dr. Manly suggests that a “life-course” approach, which considers the educational and health experiences of diverse populations, can contribute to the identification of early, accurate markers for cognitive decline and dementia.

Dr. Manly presented her results at a plenary session of the 2012 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, in Vancouver.