Some symptoms associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease, including agitation and depression, affect Hispanics more frequently and severely than other ethnicities, according to study results published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience.
Lead researcher Ricardo Salazar, MD, a geriatric psychiatrist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and his colleagues gathered data on more than 2,100 individuals in the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium database, including predominantly non-Hispanic whites and Mexican-Americans who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment, or otherwise healthy individuals. The researchers focused on results from each individual’s Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire, an exam used to assess the extent of 12 neuropsychiatric symptoms [doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.15120423]
Among the participants with MCI, all ethnicities were affected equally by neuropsychiatric symptoms. But once the condition had progressed to Alzheimer’s disease, the severity of neuropsychiatric symptoms in Hispanics increased significantly.
“Hispanics tend to get Alzheimer’s disease at an earlier age than other [ethnic groups], and our study shows that these neuropsychiatric symptoms of depression and anxiety manifest earlier in them, too,” Dr. Salazar said in a news release. “This suggests that depression and anxiety in older Hispanics could be an early warning for Alzheimer’s disease.”