Date of Conferral





Public Health


MaryLou Gutierrez


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the 6th leading cause of death in older Americans. Currently there is no cure for AD, and even though the specific cause is unknown, diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) is regarded as a risk factor. Hispanics have a higher incidence of DM2 and possibly AD. I chose a life course theoretical model for this quantitative cross-sectional study to illuminate the variables most pertinent to a pathway from good health to poor health. The variables chosen were hypertension (HTN), obesity, smoking, stroke, dyslipidemia, and lower educational attainment. The research questions were used to examine biologic, metabolic, sociologic, and genetic risk factors in the development of DM2 and subsequently, AD. Using data from the National Alzheimer Coordinating Center, the association between DM2 and AD in Hispanics over 65 years of age was examined using Ï?2 and logistic regression to determine whether DM2 in this population contributes to AD development. No association was found between DM2 and AD (OR .791, 95% CI = .441-1.509, p = .476). Risk factors independently associated with AD were HTN, a history of stroke, and lower education in Hispanics. Obesity measured by BMI, dyslipidemia, smoking, and the APOE gene was not significant in their association to AD. This study offers information that medical providers can use to help determine which risk factors affect this population and may thereby alter the course of AD in their patients. Medical providers can make a significant impact on an individual's life by diagnosing dementia early. Early diagnosis could prevent or delay cognitive dysfunction and improve quality of life by using culturally and linguistically appropriate tools.