Lessons learned from international comparative crosscultural studies on dementia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

21 Scopus citations


International and crosscultural comparative studies of Alzheimer disease (AD) offer significant advantages in elucidating risk factors for the disease by providing a wider diversity of environmental exposures as well as greater genetic diversity than do studies confined to a single ethnic group in a developed country. They also present with major methodological problems. The problems and their possible solutions are discussed in this article by describing three projects involving the Cree and English-speaking residents of Manitoba, blacks from Indianapolis, Indiana, and Yoruba from Ibadan and residents of Chinese villages. In this review, the development and harmonization of a culture fair screening instrument for dementia, the CSID, is described. The advantage of a scientific paradigm that can incorporate genetic and environmental factors as well as their interactions to explore the etiology of AD is presented. The importance of developing strategies for recruitment and retention in international community-based studies is emphasized as is the necessity of establishing academic partnerships between the countries. The unique opportunity provided by geopolitical and sociocultural influences to study environmental exposures is exemplified by the ongoing study of the influence of selenium levels on cognition in Chinese villagers. Results from the Indianapolis, Indiana-Ibadan dementia project are presented suggesting that the incidence of AD is lower in Yoruba than in blacks and that this lower rate may be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-488
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • African-American
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Chinese
  • Cree
  • Crosscultural
  • Dementia
  • Epidemiology
  • International
  • Yoruba

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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