$32 million NIA grant boosts long COVID cognition study of under-studied populations including South Texas Hispanics
Posted on: Thursday, December 14th, 2023
COVID-19’s long-term effects on cognition in older adults will be studied for five years thanks to a $32 million federal grant awarded to The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (also called UT Health San Antonio).
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) grant, with UT Health San Antonio as the coordinating center, focuses on recruitment and analysis of populations most severely affected by long COVID:
- Hispanic Mexican Americans in San Antonio and Laredo, Texas.
- Hispanics and African Americans of Caribbean descent in the Bronx, N.Y.
- Non-tribal Native Americans in Seattle, Wash.
- Amerindians in Jujuy, Argentina.
- Africans of Yoruba ancestry in Ibadan, Nigeria.
“Cognitive impairment is seen in some adults over 60 who are experiencing long COVID, and this impairment appears to be progressive. We will study the genetics of older individuals in these specific lineage cohorts that proved to be at higher risk for COVID sequalae during the pandemic,” said the study’s lead principal investigator, Gabriel de Erausquin, MD, PhD, MSc, professor of neurology at UT Health San Antonio’s Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases.
The researchers will perform whole-genome sequencing on samples from 4,300 study participants to understand genetic variations that protect some older people against long COVID cognitive impairment. They will likewise seek to discover variations that make other people over 60 more prone to impairment.