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US Latinos may develop Alzheimer's disease symptoms at earlier age than white, non-Latinos

CHICAGO U.S. Latinos develop symptoms of Alzheimer's disease earlier, on average, than white non-Latino people, according to a study in the May issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Although Latino people are a geographic and genetically diverse group, some reports suggest that they may differ from Anglo (white non-Latino) individuals in several Alzheimer's disease (AD) characteristics, according to background information in the article. Differences shown in previous studies include a higher prevalence of Alzheimer's in both Caribbean and Mexican-American Latino people and an increased incidence of Alzheimer's in the Latino populations of New York City and Houston, compared with Anglos. This study compares the age at which Alzheimer's symptoms first appear between Latino and Anglo subjects evaluated through the National Institute on Aging-sponsored Alzheimer's Disease Centers (ADC) program.

Christopher M. Clark, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and colleagues at five Alzheimer's Disease Centers (three east coast and two west coast centers) conducted a two phase study to compare the age of onset of Alzheimer's disease symptoms of U.S. mainland Latino individuals with age of symptom onset in Anglo individuals. The first phase of the study, a retrospective database analysis, found that the mean (average) age at symptom onset for 366 Latino patients with a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's was 68.8 years compared with 73.5 years for 2,823 Anglo patients and was consistent for the east coast centers (individuals of predominately Caribbean origin) and the west coast centers (individuals of predominately Mexican origin).

In the second phase of the study, 119 Latinos and 55 Anglo patients with probable or possible Alzheimer's disease were evaluated using a number of standardized assessment tests for severity of dementia and psychiatric symptoms. In addition, information on each patient, including
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
215-662-2560
JAMA and Archives Journals
9-May-2005


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