MEDICC Review, April–July 2019, Vol 21, No 2–3
The Panama Aging Research Initiative Longitudinal Study
-- Lessons from the Field
Alcibiades E. Villarreal, Ambar R. Pérez-Lao, Diana C. Oviedo, Shantal Grajales , Maria B. Carreira, Gabrielle B. Britton,
the Panama Aging Research Initiative Group.
The Panama Aging Research Initiative is a cohort study of 423 adults aged ≥65 years recruited from an outpatient geriatric department of Panama’s largest public hospital, the Social Security Fund’s Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex (Complejo Hospitalario Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid de la Caja de Seguro Social). The study provides the ﬁrst reports of modiﬁable and non-modiﬁ able risk factors of cognitive impairment and dementia, as well as various health conditions common among older adults in Panama, including chronic illnesses, polypharmacy and rates of comorbidity. The initial study, conducted September 2012–May 2016, included a clinical interview; physical assessments of body mass index and handgrip strength; and cognitive testing, plus non-fasting blood draws for measurements of genetic (Apolipoprotein E genotype) and blood-based biological markers.
Information was collected regarding limitations in activities of daily living, symptoms of depression and fall incidents. A subsample of participants provided cerebrospinal ﬂuid to measure proteins related to Alzheimer’s disease; another subsample underwent ultrasonography and electroencephalography.
This report describes the general study design and highlights lessons learned and future directions. In particular, drawing on lessons learned from this clinical research, a community-based prospective cohort study is currently under way among older adults in Panama to validate a blood-based biomarker proﬁle for detecting mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as risk factors for cognitive decline.
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