Date of Conferral





Public Health


Mary Lou Gutierrez


Dementia is a serious public health concern in the United States, with a prevalence of 5.2 million. There is currently no effective way to prevent or cure dementia, and the precise etiology is unknown, but it appears there are multiple risk factors. Prediabetes (PD) has been identified as a risk factor although the scientific evidence is conflicting. This study is important to those at high risk for dementia and to healthcare professionals who lack substantiated dementia prevention strategies. The purpose of this case control study was to determine whether PD is associated with dementia in adults aged 65-95 years and whether the association varies according to demographic (age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status [SES]) and health (atherosclerosis, body weight, cerebrovascular disease, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and stroke) risk factors. The ecosocial theory was selected to bridge the study findings to life-course exposures and risk factors. Cases (n = 574) and controls (n = 2,157) were sampled from a large ambulatory care dataset, and multivariable logistic regression was used to test the research hypotheses. No unadjusted association between PD and dementia was found (OR 1.08, 95% CI = .854, 1.241, p = .604). The regression analysis revealed no association between PD and dementia; however, atherosclerosis, hypertension, low body weight, and low/average SES were found to be significantly and independently associated with dementia. A stratified analysis revealed that race and SES did not alter the effect of PD on dementia. The implications for positive social change include the potential reduction of incident dementia through initiatives targeted toward demographic and health risk factors including atherosclerosis, hypertension, low body weight, and low/average SES.