Alzheimer's Disease in the Latino Community: Intersection of Genetics and Social Determinants of Health

Irving E. Vega, Laura Y. Cabrera, Cassandra M. Wygant, Daniel Velez-Ortiz, Scott E. Counts, Jose Abisambra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia among individuals 65 or older. There are more than 5 million diagnosed cases in the US alone and this number is expected to triple by 2050. Therefore, AD has reached epidemic proportions with significant socioeconomic implications. While aging in general is the greatest risk factor for AD, several additional demographic factors that have contributed to the rise in AD in the US are under study. One such factor is associated with the relatively fast growth of the Latino population. Several reports indicate that AD is more prevalent among blacks and Latinos. However, the reason for AD disparity among different ethnic groups is still poorly understood and highly controversial. The Latino population is composed of different groups based on nationality, namely South and Central America, Mexico, and Caribbean Hispanics. This diversity among the Latino population represents an additional challenge since there are distinct characteristics associated with AD and comorbidities. In this review, we aim to bring attention to the intersection between social determinants of health and genetic factors associated with AD within the Latino community. We argue that understanding the interplay between identified social determinants of health, co-morbidities, and genetic factors could lead to community empowerment and inclusiveness in research and healthcare services, contributing to improved diagnosis and treatment of AD patients. Lastly, we propose that inserting a neuroethics perspective could help understand key challenges that influence healthcare disparities and contribute to increased risk of AD among Latinos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)979-992
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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