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2018 Alzheimer's Association Research Fellowship to Promote Diversity (AARF-D)

Spanish Translation and Cultural Adaptation of the Memory Support System

Can a culturally-tailored brain exercise program improve memory and daily function in older Hispanic/Latino adults?

Octavio Santos
Mayo Clinic Jacksonville
Jacksonville, FL - United States


Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) causes a slight but noticeable and measureable decline in cognitive abilities, including memory and thinking skills. People with MCI are more likely to progress to dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Some studies indicate that Hispanics/Latinos are about one and half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s as older white individuals in the United States. It is important, therefore, to find culturally-targeted ways that may benefit brain health in older Hispanic/Latino individuals. One potential therapy may involve mental exercises that strengthen cognitive function. To date, however, no study has developed culturally-tailored approaches for Spanish speakers. 

Research Plan

Dr. Octavio Andres Santos and colleagues will translate and adapt a cognitive intervention program called Memory Support System.  The translation of this program will enable it to be studied in the Hispanic/Latino community. It includes activities such as keeping a calendar and taking daily notes. Dr. Santos and colleagues will first follow international guidelines to ensure proper translation of the tool being evaluated into Spanish. Then, researchers will pilot test their translated intervention in 20 Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latino individuals who have MCI. Dr. Santos will assess whether there is a benefit for those using the tool on their memory for complex daily activities; they will also evaluate the extent to which the participants follow medical advice, and whether using the tool improves participant mood and self-confidence.  The researchers will make all these assessments before and after the participants are introduced to the tool as well as 8 weeks later to determine the potential impact.


If successful, the results of this study could lead to further testing in larger populations of cognitive training tools for individuals of other languages and cultures.   

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