Which neuropsychological tests predict progression to alzheimer's disease in hispanics?

Gali H. Weissberger, David P. Salmon, Mark W. Bondi, Tamar H. Gollan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


To investigate which neuropsychological tests predict eventual progression to Alzheimer's disease (AD) in both Hispanic and non-Hispanic individuals. Although our approach was exploratory, we predicted that tests that underestimate cognitive ability in healthy aging Hispanics might not be sensitive to future cognitive decline in this cultural group. Method: We compared first-year data of 22 older adults (11 Hispanic) who were diagnosed as cognitively normal but eventually developed AD (decliners), to 60 age-and education-matched controls (27 Hispanic) who remained cognitively normal. To identify tests that may be culturally biased in our sample, we compared Hispanic with non-Hispanic controls on all tests and asked which tests were sensitive to future decline in each cultural group. Results: Compared to age-, education-, and gender-matched non-Hispanic controls, Hispanic controls obtained lower scores on tests of language, executive function, and some measures of global cognition. Consistent with our predictions, some tests identified non-Hispanic, but not Hispanic, decliners (vocabulary, semantic fluency). Contrary to our predictions, a number of tests on which Hispanics obtained lower scores than non-Hispanics nevertheless predicted eventual progression to AD in both cultural groups (e.g., Boston Naming Test [BNT], Trails A and B). Conclusions: Cross-cultural variation in test sensitivity to decline may reflect greater resistance of medium difficulty items to decline and bilingual advantages that initially protect Hispanics against some aspects of cognitive decline commonly observed in non-Hispanics with preclinical AD. These findings highlight a need for further consideration of cross-cultural differences in neuropsychological test performance and development of culturally unbiased measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-355
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Hispanic
  • Object naming
  • Preclinical alzheimer's disease
  • Spanish-english bilingual
  • Verbal fluency


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