Study of CVD Risk Factors on Cognitive Dysfunction in Elderly Rural West Texans Presented in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports

P. Hemachandra Reddy, Ph.D. and Hafiz Khan, Ph.D. standing in the hallway at TTUHSC

A team of researchers led by P. Hemachandra Reddy, Ph.D., professor of internal medicine, neurology and neuroscience at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine and Hafiz Khan, Ph.D., professor for the Julia Jones Matthews Department of Public Health at the TTUHSC Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, completed a study to better understand the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in a rural population. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports published the study, “Sex Differences in Cardiovascular Disease and Cognitive Decline in Rural West Elderly Texans,” in Volume 5, Issue 1.

Reddy and Khan said the team sought to identify disparities between race and ethnic groups among adults 40 years of age and older and to understand gender differences and other chronic diseases in rural West Texas by using data collected from 2006-2018 through Project FRONTIER, a rural-based research database that investigates the health conditions of adults and elders living in rural West Texas communities. Reddy said it was the first time his team used Project FRONTIER data related to CVD and cognitive dysfunction.

Age-related chronic diseases such as CVD, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and kidney disease contribute greatly to the rapid progression of cognitive dysfunction, which often manifests itself as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

In rural West Texas, age-related chronic conditions such as cognitive dysfunction and CVD are disproportionately distributed among the elderly populations, and the prevalence of these conditions increases each year. In fact, current statistics and previous research show that minority populations, including Hispanic Americans living and working in the rural West Texas, often face the greatest incidence of dementia due to poor lifestyle choices and habits and insufficient health care services.

“Cardiovascular dysfunction-related risk factors in developing cognitive dysfunction do exist,” Khan added. “Integrating such risk variables may help guide relevant policy interventions to reduce incidences of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in the communities of rural West Texas.”

Other research team members included Komaraiah Palle, Ph.D., (TTUHSC Department of Cell Biology & Biochemistry), Mohammad Faysel, Ph.D., (Medical Informatics Program chair, State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University), Kemesha Gabbidon, Ph.D., (University of South Florida Department of Psychology), Aamrin Rafiq (Undergraduate student, Department of Biology, Lubbock Christian University), Mohammed Chowdhury, Ph.D., (Kennesaw State University Department of Statistics and Analytical Sciences).

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