Skip to content

Latino Harvard Aging Brain Study


The Harvard Aging Brain Study (HABS) is an observational study that aims to find out whether the changes that a doctor sometimes sees on a brain scan are related to early memory changes that occur in older healthy adults. In this study, we will use several imaging (picture taking) techniques to study the structure and function of the brain, and to detect the presence of a protein called amyloid which is found in aging and in early Alzheimer’s disease (an illness affecting memory and thinking).

The HABS PIs are fully committed to increase diversity in Alzheimer’s disease research. We are now conducting appropriate examinations of older Spanish-speaking Latinos. Further, in the past years, HABS bilingual investigators have been actively involved in community outreach activities, and have maintained a constant presence in Latino communities. We hope to enroll a subsample of 40 older Latinos/as into HABS over the next 2 years.

Tania Yanes holds her mother’s hands on Sunday, November 27, 2016. “I try to make her feel comfortable, feel safe.” said Yanes. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING?

Quick Info:

  • Searching for Latinos age 65-90 with no cognitive/memory issues
  • 16 visits over 5 years
  • Transportation can be covered if needed
  • Meals included

Overview of study:

The Harvard Aging Brain Study (HABS) is an observational study that aims to find out whether the changes that a doctor sometimes sees on a brain scan are related to early memory changes that occur in older healthy adults. In this study, we will use several imaging (picture taking) techniques to study the structure and function of the brain, and to detect the presence of a protein called amyloid which is found in aging and in early Alzheimer’s disease (an illness affecting memory and thinking).

The HABS PIs are fully committed to increase diversity in Alzheimer’s disease research. We are now conducting appropriate examinations of older Spanish-speaking Latinos. Further, in the past years, HABS bilingual investigators have been actively involved in community outreach activities, and have maintained a constant presence in Latino communities. We hope to enroll a subsample of 40 older Latinos/as into HABS over the next 2 years.

Why it matters:

Findings from this subsample will give us a greater understanding of the changes in thinking and behavior within Latinos that are related to preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. This will also set the stage for future research on the differences of these changes between various races and ethnicities.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Spanish speaking (monolingual or bilingual) Latino
  • Age range from 65 to 90
  • Has a study partner who can answer questions pertaining to daily functioning
  • Stable medications for at least 30 days

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosis of MCI or dementia
  • Subjects with contraindications to MRI
  • Evidence of cortical infarcts or strategically placed lacunar infarct (e.g. dorsal medial nucleus of thalamus). MRI evidence of mild white matter signal abnormalities will be allowed.
  • Major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, major affective disorder in mid-life, or treatment with ECT (Mild depression that is well treated with stable dose of SSRI antidepressants will be allowed)
  • Active cancer, metabolic encephalopathy, CNS infection, hydrocephalus
  • Poor controlled diabetes
  • Huntington’s disease, major head injury, post-traumatic dementia or seizures
  • Cardiovascular disease, stroke, congestive heart failure
  • Substance abuse within the past 2 years
  • Active hematological, renal, pulmonary, endocrine or hepatic disorders
  • Vision impairments that impede subject from correctly viewing test stimuli

Interested in participating?

Contact: Martha Muñiz – (617) 643-0143 – MMUNIZ2@PARTNERS.ORG