Cultural factors related to neuropsychological performance and brain atrophy among hispanic older adults with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI): A pilot study

Miriam Rodriguez, Lisandra Mendoza, Ivan Rodriguez, Mónica Rosselli, David Loewenstein, Shanna Burke, Amanda Orozco, Ranjan Duara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: This study examined the association of cultural factors and literacy to neuropsychological performance and measures of regional brain atrophy among Hispanic elders diagnosed with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI). Method: Acculturation and literacy levels were measured among 45 subjects tested in Spanish; their primary language. Scores for measures of memory, executive functioning, and verbal fluency, as well as volumetric analysis of MRI scans of left hemisphere structures commonly affected by Alzheimer’s disease (AD) were examined. Linear regression models were employed to examine the association of acculturation and literacy to neuropsychological performance and MRI measures. Results: After controlling for age, higher literacy levels were associated with better performance on phonemic verbal fluency (r = 0.300, p <.05), while higher levels of acculturation to the U.S. was associated with poorer performance on category verbal fluency (r = 0.300, p <.05). There was a significant inverse relationship after controlling for age between literacy and the left entorhinal cortex (r = –0.455, p <.05), left precuneus (r = –0.457, p <.05), and left posterior cingulate (r = –0.415, p <.05). Conclusions: Results of the current pilot study indicate that high acculturation to the U.S. among aMCI immigrants from Latin-American countries may hinder performance on verbal learning measures when they are administered in one’s primary language. Moreover, in this cohort, a higher literacy level, which is indicative of greater cognitive reserve, was associated with better performance in language measures, but with greater atrophy in brain regions susceptible to neurodegenerative disease. These preliminary findings should be further examined among larger cohorts and using more diverse measures, which capture other cultural constructs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalApplied Neuropsychology:Adult
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Acculturation
  • cognitive impairment
  • culture
  • Hispanic American
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • mild cognitive impairments
  • mild neurocognitive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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