Scientists hope to create a health ‘scorecard’ for dementia risk

Posted on: Tuesday, July 5th, 2022



UT Health San Antonio is site for a new major study of diverse communities is looking at how brain changes and genetics contribute to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

UT Health San Antonio is a clinical research site for a new study, Diverse Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia, or Diverse VCID. by UC Davis Health and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston). The study aims to predict who is most at risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Participants who join the study will be helping researchers create a kind of risk “scorecard” with data from brain scans, genetics, and other key biomarkers.

White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) in the brain are associated with an increased risk of dementia or cognitive impairment. Researchers hope to learn more about WMHs and create a risk “scorecard” for developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Having a scorecard may identify ways to mitigate or delay dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Studying gender and racial disparities in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

According to data from the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately one in nine people ages 65 and older (about 11.3%) has Alzheimer’s disease. Of the estimated 6 million people with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S., almost two-thirds, or about 3.5 million, are women. Hispanic Americans are also about one and a half times as likely as white Americans to have dementia or Alzheimer’s.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, cases are expected to quadruple among African Americans and increase seven times among Hispanic Americans over today’s estimates.

The study will be looking at diverse populations. The researchers are recruiting 2,250 participants from diverse backgrounds between the ages of 65 and 90.

Learn more about the DiverseVCID trial>>

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