By Vincent Lim
Findings from a study conducted by researchers at the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work suggest that higher dementia prevalence among racial and ethnic minorities—particularly among Latinos—is connected to lower educational attainment.
“Our research underscores the significant role that education plays in determining the risk for dementias like Alzheimer’s disease as Latinos grow older,” said María Aranda, associate professor and executive director of the USC Roybal Institute who is one of the study’s co-authors. “There’s clear evidence that shows education confers many cognitive health benefits, but we sought to explore whether a lack of education could be detrimental to cognitive functioning and explain health disparities in dementia risk.”
With increasing life expectancy in the United States, more individuals are projected to be at risk for dementia in the coming decades. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It affects about 5.7 million people in the United States and is the sixth leading cause of death, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
A USC Roybal Institute and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s report stated that Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than non-Latino whites. African Americans are also two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than non-Latino whites.
Previous research has shown that dementia risk is particularly high for individuals with low levels of education.