Key study results from HSC’s Institute for Translational Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr. Sid O'BryantFindings from a recent study by the team at the Institute for Translational Research led by Dr. Sid O’Bryant at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth have been published by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The article, “Characterization of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia among Community-Dwelling Mexican Americans and Non-Hispanic Whites” was published in the November issue of the journal.

The study revealed that the demographic, clinical, sociocultural and biomarker characteristics of MCI and dementia are different among Hispanics as compared to non-Hispanic whites.

“Overall, this work expands on our prior findings that, while there are common risk factors, many of the factors associated with cognitive aging appear to be different across racial/ethnic groups,” said O’Bryant, executive director of the ITR and professor at HSC’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Our team is now characterizing these factors within the context of brain amyloid and brain tau among Hispanics, African Americans and non-Hispanic whites to better understand the factors related to cognitive decline across populations. We believe that this work will, in time, lead to better approaches to diagnosing, treating and preventing cognitive loss during the aging process.”

The study, conducted by the team members at HSC’s ITR included Dr. Melissa Petersen, Dr. James Hall, Dr. Leigh Johnson, Dr. Robert Barber, Dr. Nicole Phillips and other experts from around the nation.

The researchers examined “traditional” risk factors, established and emerging biomarkers to work toward a deeper understanding of the components related to cognitive loss across diverse communities.

The research team examined 1,705 participants of the Health and Aging Brain Study — Health Disparities, which included 890 Hispanics and 815 non-Hispanic white participants. In addition, the study looked at sociocultural factors, cognitive measures, brain MRI measures as well as blood biomarkers such as amyloid, tau and the APOE4 genotype.

The results were similar to their prior finding, that Hispanics appeared to develop cognitive loss (MCI) at significantly younger ages. The APOE4 genotype (the single strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s) was again less prevalent among Hispanics, and blood biomarker levels were different between groups.

The team saw medical comorbidities were also differentially prevalent among groups. Depression and brain measures of neurodegeneration were significantly associated with the risk of MCI and dementia across groups; however, risk factors for MCI and dementia were different across groups.

Approximately 5.8 million people in the U.S. live with Alzheimer’s disease — the sixth-leading cause of death in the country, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Experts estimate that 500,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed in the U.S. annually.

To request the full text of the article or more information, please contact Diana Murray, IOS Press, at 718-640-5678 or To learn more about the HABS-HD study, please call 817-735-2963.

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