A vulnerability index for cognitive impairment risk in Latin America
June 19, 2025
October 19, 2022
Monica Diaz, MD, MS
Organizational Collaboration, Increase outreach of project/program
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Peruvian Institute for Neurosciences
Cognitive problems range from memory complaints but with normal scores on cognitive testing (called ‘subjective cognitive decline’) to major neurocognitive disorder/dementia where a person performs poorly on cognitive screening tests and has difficulty completing daily activities independently. Cognitive problems are common in low-and-middle-income countries (LMIC), and lead to significant difficulties with completing daily living activities and may decrease quality of life. Despite this significant burden, we do not know what the frequency of cognitive problem severities are in low-income communities of LMIC, including in Peru. In this study, we will determine if people living in a low-income district are more likely to have cognitive problems compared to a high-income district in Peru and what factors may increase this risk for cognitive problems. We will design a mathematical model that will account for these factors that influence risk for cognitive problems, and determine if the mathematical model can predict cognitive problems in each of the districts studied in Peru. This will help identify those factors that carry the highest risk for cognitive problems in an individual person and in a community that can potentially be modified to prevent worsening of those cognitive problems. The procedures used to construct this mathematical model can also be applied to other LMIC to determine risk of cognitive impairment in other regions.