Washington University researcher finds Hispanic community more likely to develop Alzheimer’s

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 6:02 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - Alzheimer’s and dementia are disproportionately impacting the Hispanic population.

Dr. Jorge Llibre is a Washington University neurologist that researches Alzheimer’s. He says research shows the Hispanic community is two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia than non-Hispanics.

“Making it easier to have access to healthcare and diagnosis will be a win-win for the healthcare system and the Hispanic community in general,” Dr. Llibre says.

He says part of the discrepancy in data could be due to social and economic disparities.

“Not having the resources or a physician that will be able to see you or assess you in your native language,” Dr. Llibre says.

Alzheimer’s Association Program Manager Ben Molina says one-third of Hispanic Americans have experienced discrimination when seeking out medical care.

Molina says that discrimination is one of the reasons the Hispanic community is less likely to be diagnosed.

“Whether it’s a fear of being turned away because they don’t speak that language or fear because of their legal status,” Molina says.

Dr. Llibre says less than 10 percent of Alzheimer’s research includes the Hispanic community, which is a gap researchers need to bridge.

“We don’t know if these therapies that we are testing will work the same or if we have to change doses or if there will be any biological difference,” Dr. Llibre says. “Those are questions we haven’t been able to answer and I think it should be a commitment of the research community and pharma partners to address these questions.”

Experts say the key is education. The Alzheimer’s Association has programs and support groups to help connect the community with resources, which are offered in more than 100 languages.