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2011 Grants - Marquez
BAILA-C: Bypassing Alzheimer's, Increasing Latinos' Activity and Cognition
David X. Marquez, Ph.D.
University of Illinois at Chicago
2011 New Investigator Research Grant to Promote Diversity
Among elderly persons of Latino ethnicity, the incidence of Alzheimer's disease is about twice as high as the incidence among elderly persons of white, non-Latino ethnicity. A number of identified risk factors may account for this difference, including differences in levels of physical activity. For example, only about half as many elderly Latinos participate in physical activities as non-Latino whites. Physical activity, however, is known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease by as much as 50%.
David X. Marquez, Ph.D. and colleagues have been developing ways to get Latino persons more involved in physical activity. They have developed an innovative and culturally appropriate dance program aimed at getting older persons of Latino ethnicity more active. The program was developed with feedback from older, inactive Latino persons and the help of a Latin dance instructor.
Dr. Marquez and colleagues have tested the program in a small pilot study and found preliminary evidence of improved cognitive and physical function among participants. The researchers now plan to conduct a larger, controlled trial of their program in older, inactive Latino persons. After 4 months of the program, they will study changes in cognitive and physical function, as well as quality of life in persons who participated in the dance program compared to similar individuals who did not. This study may help to identify a specific, culturally appropriate way to increase the physical activity of older Latino persons and reduce their risk of cognitive decline.