Guest Lecture by Agustin Ibañez
Abstract: Current standards of brain health and dementia come from high-income populations, unrepresentative of most individuals globally. There is an essential lack of evidence regarding underrepresented populations with dementia and other brain diseases, a significant gap in the current knowledge of neurodegenerative and neuroprotective traits. The most significant increase in the future prevalence of dementia is expected to occur in the Global South. Such populations are characterized by harmful exposome, socioeconomic status (SES) disparities, and negative social determinants of health (SDH). These disparities can induce accelerated brain aging . Current models of brain health and dementia fail to provide adequate characterization of diverse, underrepresented populations. Multilevel collaborations in clinical research, capacity building, implementation science, and brain capital innovation are critically needed. In this talk, I will introduce three main regional initiatives: The Latin America and the Caribbean Consortium on Dementia (LAC-CD), the Multi-partner consortium to expand dementia research in Latin America (ReDLat), and The Latin American Brain Health Institute (BrainLat). I first provide an overview of LAC-CD, ReDLat, and BrainLat, highlighting the opportunities for networking and collaboration. These comprise (a) data sharing and multicentric comparisons regarding genetic, epigenetic, social, and economic factors that drive brain health; (b) neurocognitive assessment models of neurodegenerative conditions and healthy aging; (c) development of affordable markers of disease; (d) computational modeling; and (e) international educative collaborations and private initiatives promoting brain health, brain capital, and brain health diplomacy. Coordinated actions are crucial to forging solid regional bonds, supporting the implementation of regional dementia plans, improving health systems, and expanding research collaborations across the globe.