A $3.7 million grant from the National Institute on Aging will fund a new study on the association of diabetes and dementia in adults with Hispanic ancestry.

Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, will recruit 200 adults with Hispanic ancestry over a five-year period. They plan to collect data on brain structure and activity, blood flow in the brain, blood glucose and insulin levels, and cognitive functioning. The aim is to compare differences in these data between adults with and without diabetes and how it may predict changes in brain health over time.

U.S. Latinos are more likely to develop each disease when compared to non-Hispanic white adults, but are studied far less often as a population, the researchers said. Current research suggests that diabetes in midlife puts adults at risk for dementia later on. The study population will therefore skew younger than the typical age of dementia onset, between the ages of 50 to 65 years.

Participants will be recruited from the East Los Angeles community.

“We aren’t conducting research in a vacuum,” researcher Matthew Borzage, PhD, said. “We’re doing it in a broader community and clinical context, and understanding that is critical to achieving our mission of supporting this population.”

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