Does the link between dementia and increased risk of COVID-19 that has been observed in wealthier countries exist in LMICs?

HAALSI letters with images from project

Researchers affiliated with HAALSI, a longitudinal study on health and aging in South Africa, have published a novel study that investigates the link between cohort-derived dementia (using a predictive model for dementia) and confirmed COVID-19 infection in a low- and middle-income, rural, community setting. Findings point to the risk of COVID-19 being doubled for those who received a consensus-based dementia diagnosis.

Diagnosing dementia in rural South Africa using online consensus; cash transfers at earlier age in South Africa to support cognitive health later on; paving the way with promise for genomic studies on cognition in Africa

HAALSI men and women

Three studies by HAALSI researchers based on a rapidly aging population in rural South Africa are contributing to the much-needed scientific literature on global cognitive aging. A study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring found that a multidisciplinary, web-based consensus conference approach for diagnosing cognitive impairment and dementia in rural South Africa was feasible, and identified the key factors responsible for diagnostic variability among raters. In…

If this is to be the “Decade of Healthy Ageing,” treatments and support for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRDs) need to scale up now

Illustration of profile of a person's head with puzzle pieces

The United Nations has declared that we are now in the “UN Decade of Healthy Ageing” (2021-2030) as a way to address the challenges that accompany increasing global life expectancy. Two researchers affiliated with the Harvard Pop Center (David Bloom and Benjamin Seligman) are among the authors of this piece published on that cites the rapidly developed COVID-19 vaccine as proof that complex health crises can be successfully tackled.…

Adult cancer survivors found to have better memory function both before and after cancer diagnosis

two elderly people standing together in a park

The findings of this new study published in JAMA Network Open could make a valuable contribution in the quest to prevent Alzheimer’s as it could lead to insight into a common pathological process in the illnesses. Authors include Harvard Pop Center faculty member M. Maria Glymour and recent Bell Fellow Lindsay Kobayashi. Other authors of the study are: Monica Ospina-Romer, Ekland Abdiwahab, Teresa Filshtein, Willa D. Brenowitz, and Elizabeth R.…

Harvard Pop Center awarded grant by NIA to further research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias among older adults in rural South Africa

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has awarded the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies (HCPDS) a five-year grant to further its research on a rapidly growing, under-studied, at-risk population—older adults in rural South Africa— by honing in on the social and biological risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). The Cognitive Function, Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in the HAALSI Cohort study is a collaboration with Witwatersrand…

Does timing of socioeconomic status (SES) impact late-life memory function and decline differently?

Researchers have found that early- and later-life SES has an impact on late-life memory in differing ways. The study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health doctoral student Jessica Marden, along with Harvard Pop Center faculty members Ichiro Kawachi and M. Maria Glymour.

Possible molecular link to stroke and dementia may be associated with level of social support

Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, PhD, and faculty member Joel Salinas, MD, are among the authors on a paper published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions that reveals that those with more social support were found to have higher serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is linked to reduced risk of dementia and stroke in certain subsets.