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Past projects

Admix population in Cuba and Brazil

This project was being carried out under the auspices of the 10/66 Dementia Research Group to discover the prevalence and causes of dementia in different countries, and find evidence-based solutions. The 10/66 Group is affiliated to Alzheimer’s Disease International and is co-ordinated by Professor Martin Prince in the Section of Epidemiology.

This is one of a number of projects based on 10/66 population based surveys of people aged over 65: these surveys have been carried out in Cuba, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, China and India.

This project is a survey of admixed populations in Cuba and Brazil to estimate the prevalence of dementia and to test the hypothesis that older people with African ancestry have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

The results of epidemiological research can inform policy and service development. However, there is little research into dementia, its prevalence and its causes in many developing countries, and there is a particular dearth of studies in Latin America.

Previous research indicates strong and consistent ethnic differences in the incidence of dementia. A high proportion of participants in this project have mixed African/European ancestry, giving researchers the opportunity to distinguish genetic from environmental explanations for ethnic variation in risk of dementia.

3,000 people aged over 65 were interviewed in Cuba (in Havana and Matanzas, a nearby smaller city) and 2,000 people aged over 65 were interviewed in Brazil (in San Paulo). All participants gave blood and DNA samples.

Researchers asked about lifestyle and health, both mental and physical, diet, living circumstances and social support. Participants were given a battery of cognitive tests and a structured clinical interview. Researchers looked for evidence of cognitive and functional decline, asked for details of any possible dementia from a family member of close friend and also about care arrangements. Participants’ blood samples were tested for genetic factors, nutritional factors, cholesterol and glucose (diabetes).

Professor Martin Prince is the principal investigator and collaborators include Dr Cleusa Ferri, Professor Paulo Menezes, University of Sao Paulo,Brazil,
Dr Juan Libre Rodrigues, Universidad Medica de La Habana, Cuba, Professor Paul McKeigue from University College, Dublin and Professor John Copeland at the University of Liverpool.

The project is funded by the Wellcome Trust.
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