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2024 Alzheimer's Association Research Fellowship to Promote Diversity (AARF-D)

Racial Residential Segregation, Neighborhood Deprivation and ADRD Risk

How does living in a segregated neighborhood contribute to a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia?

Paola Filigrana, Ph.D.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Bronx, NY - United States


According to studies mentioned in the 2024 Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures report, older Hispanic American adults are about one and a half times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s and related dementias (ADRD) as older White Americans. Research also indicates that there is a disparity in risk related to socioeconomic factors. Such factors include living in neighborhoods that are both segregated and lack the resources and healthy environment of wealthier neighborhoods. In addition, studies also suggest that discrimination may contribute to a person’s risk of ADRD. This study will look at the interconnection of these factors on the individual-level, aiming to better understand how they may contribute to a person’s risk. 

Research Plan

To ask these questions, Dr. Paola Filigrana and colleagues will examine data from a large study of aging that focuses on four urban Hispanic communities (Chicago, San Diego, Miami and New York). The study tracked several measures of brain health over time, including changes in cognition (brain function) and brain structure. They will also examine census records and other data to assess levels of segregation and socioeconomic disparity in these four communities. The researchers will then assess how the intersection of various forms of discrimination impacts cognitive decline, brain cell damage and long-term ADRD risk. Lastly, they will explore how levels of green space and other factors in the built environment may moderate the effects of discrimination on brain health in older Hispanics.


Results from Dr. Filigrana’s study could refine our understanding of why ADRD risk is higher in vulnerable communities. They could also identify novel strategies for public health intervention to reduce that risk and support brain health.

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