Comorbid Depression and Diabetes as a Risk for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's Disease in Elderly Mexican Americans

Leigh A. Johnson, Adriana Gamboa, Raul Vintimilla, Austin J. Cheatwood, Alyann Grant, Ashesh Trivedi, Melissa Edwards, James R. Hall, Sid E. O'Bryant

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36 Scopus citations


Background: The links between diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been established, but they are still poorly understood. However, little research has examined the effect that comorbidity of depression and diabetes has on cognitive impairment in an ethnically diverse sample. Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between comorbid diabetes and depression on cognitive dysfunction; and examine the relationship in an ethnically diverse population. Methods and Results: Analyses of data from 2, 436 participants (914 men and 1, 522 women) of three separate cohorts: HABLE, FRONTIER, and TARCC. In the HABLE cohort, comorbidity (odds ratio [OR] = 3.008; 95% CI = 1.358-6.667), age (OR = 1.138; 95% CI = 1.093-1.185), and education (OR = 0.915; 95% CI = 0.852-0.982) increased the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) diagnosis among elderly Mexican American. In the TARCC cohort, results showed an increase risk of MCI in both non-Hispanic whites (OR = 18.795; 95% CI = 2.229-158.485) and Mexican Americans (OR = 8.417; 95% CI = 2.967-23.878). Finally, results in the FRONTIER cohort showed that in elderly Mexican Americans, comorbidity (OR = 2.754; 95% CI = 1.084-6.995) and age (OR = 1.069; 95% CI = 1.023-1.118) significantly increased risk of MCI. In non-Hispanic whites, comorbidity did not significantly increase risk of MCI. Conclusions: Among elderly Mexican Americans, comorbid depression and diabetes significantly increased risk for MCI and AD across cohorts. Effects of comorbid diabetes and depression on MCI were inconclusive. Our results support the link between comorbid diabetes and depression and risk for cognitive decline among Mexican Americans. This finding is of critical importance as the Hispanic population is at higher risk of developing AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cognitive decline
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Elderly
  • Mexican American
  • Mild cognitive impairment


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